RSSS building

Visualisation of the completed building
An architect representation of the completed RSSS building

Building background

Previously spread across almost a dozen buildings on campus, RSSS is now located together for the first time since 1964. The RSSS building is adjacent to the Kambri precinct, at the gateway between the CBD and the University, and at the heart of the proposed Humanities and Social Sciences precinct.

During 2015 we engaged with staff to come up with a functional design for the building: what we needed from our new space on campus, how we would use it, and where we needed it to be to fit with our use of the campus facilities. This process led to the selection of the site of the Pauline Griffin Building. The Pauline Griffin Building, with its rich heritage and history, is commemorated and celebrated with an interpretive sculpture in the lobby of the new building.

The School of Demography, POLIS: The Centre for Social Policy Research, School of Sociology, School of Politics and International Relations, School of Philosophy, School of History, and the Centre for European Studies are all located within the building. The Centre for Indigenous Policy Research and the Centre of Arab and Islamic Studies remain in their current locations nearby.

Here, in the heart of the campus, RSSS brings together students and researchers from across the globe and across a variety of disciplines, to better interpret our past and understand our future.

The site and design of the building

The site was previously home to the Pauline Griffin Building which was originally constructed in 1963 to house the ANU Student Union until 1972, however was unable to be renovated to comply with modern building, workplace, and safety standards.

The International Style of the Pauline Griffin Building informed the architects’ design of the RSSS Building, incorporating a refined materials palette and strong horizontal features. This style reflects a significant period of expansion and building on the Acton campus.

The finishes inside this building extensively reference features of the Coombs Building where RSSS was originally homed in 1964.

Designed as a ‘building in the park,’ utilising materials such as timber, glass and concrete to exude a timeless quality while being able to adapt to future workplace, teaching and learning advancements, the RSSS building provides 500 staff, students and academic visitors with the room they need to teach, research and study, in a modern 11,700 sqm building.

Meeting and event facilities

The building contains small, medium and large meeting rooms, as well as centrally timetabled teaching spaces. Meeting rooms within the RSSS building utilise contemporary technologies to facilitate video conferencing and media casting, while the teaching spaces house projectors, microphones, and Echo 360 integration.

Our facilities may be hired for events, conferences, and meetings. Further information regarding our booking processes and terms can be found here.

Updated:  21 February 2024/Responsible Officer:  RSSS Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications