The Roundhouse


The Roundhouse, as one of UNSW Sydney's earliest buildings, was constructed in 1961. It was designed by the office of the NSW Government Architect, with Joseph W. van der Steen as Project Architect; and Edwards, Madigan, Torzillo, Briggs Architects. It was considered a cutting-edge architectural statement as Sydney’s first-ever circular building, and one of the only buildings solely dedicated to student recreation on a university campus in NSW.

Since its opening, nearly 60 years ago, the Roundhouse has hosted a diverse range of events including wedding receptions, comedy nights, theatre sports, formal dinners and more. With a capacity of 2,200 patrons, it remains one of the few venues in Sydney suitable for international live music performances.

Today, the Roundhouse provides a venue for concerts, events, conferences, seminars, box office, merchandise, and food services. It is a focal point in UNSW Sydney's social and cultural experience with a permanent bar and beer garden, and a secondary private bar area.

After more than 50 years of use, the vision was to refurbish the entertainment venue to prepare it for the next 50 years. The refurbishment involved installing new engineering services, new energy-efficient exterior lighting, and a refurbishment to the interiors that would respect the heritage of the building while adding new functionality.

As the Roundhouse is a key landmark within the lower campus of the University, the surrounding landscape was also improved with the addition of several fresh, new, green connections to Anzac Parade, the L3 Kingsford light rail stop, and the broader campus. 

Roundhouse exterior


The full refurbishment of the interiors, as well as the upgrade to its energy services, were key highlights. 

The original dome skylights, central oculus, and façade were re-glazed to make the most of natural sunlight which will also reduce heat gain and loss. 

The Roundhouse

The Roundhouse now shares energy services with the neighbouring Science and Engineering Building (SEB). 

Marmoleum-brand floor coverings have been used in the kitchen, with the material expected to last for more than 30 years. 

NSW spotted gum which was chosen to withstand the building’s usage has been used to panel the walls and build the staircases.

The Roundhouse

The sustainably sourced, robust timber was finished using natural oil sustainably derived from the Tung tree to reduce internal pollutants.

A 535m3 rainwater infiltration tank has been installed beneath the lawn next to the Roundhouse to expand the campus rainwater capture system.

Rainwater and runoff is collected and flows into the tank, which then filters through the soil and recharges the Botany Sands Aquifer below.  

Bore water extracted from the aquifer provides water for non-potable uses including laboratories, landscape irrigation, toilet flushing, cooling towers and the YMCA pool on campus.  

2019 NSW Architecture Award for Sustainability - Australian Institute of Architects. 

Development: UNSW Estate Management

Architects: Tonkin Zulhaikar Greer

Project Manager: Capital Insight

Contractor: Multiplex

Completed: 2017