Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity (AFSE) is an Indigenous-led social change fellowship program based at University of Melbourne. JCB was commissioned to design an engaging, inspiring, creative, and culturally safe space for staff and visitors, and a welcoming place for Indigenous and non-Indigenous leaders from Australia and the Pacific to collaborate, share knowledge and address global issues.

Through engagement with the client, Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung, Boon Wurrung and Bunurong, the design team developed a cultural brief based on AFSE’s values: respecting and connecting to the Country of the site; allowing visiting Indigenous peoples to connect to the Country they come from; challenging the socio-economic and political underpinnings of inequity.

The design process focused on drawing Country into the building, evoking the creek line, woodland and outcrop that once lay below. We developed a material and supplier selection framework that prioritised Indigenous procurement, designing in economic opportunity for First Nations businesses.


Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung






The University of Melbourne & AFSE


DCWC, Deloitte, Slattery, Irwin Consult, Aurecon, McKenzie Group, BG&E, Lucid, Marshall Day, Dobbs Doherty, Agency Projects


Kane Constructions & arete Australia


Tom Blachford