Saint Teresa of Kolkata Building Tops Out

The Saint Teresa of Kolkata building at ACU Melbourne campus is a step closer to completion with the new 12-storey 18,344sqm teaching and learning space reaching its final height this week.

Saint Teresa of Kolkata Building Tops Out

A topping out ceremony including traditional raising of an evergreen tree to the highest point of the building, and site tour with the ACU leadership team was hosted yesterday to commemorate the completion of the rooftop level.

BESIX Watpac Victorian and South Australian General Manager Simon Ballard said the ceremony marked an important milestone for a complex and challenging project.

“It’s a magnificent building with innovative and elaborate design features that also required new construction techniques, detailed planning and program design,” Mr Ballard said.

“The result is a landmark new building for ACU campus that is sympathetic in significance to its historical counterpart and neighbour, the Mary Glowrey Building (MGB).”

The new building includes a combination of teaching and learning spaces, congregational hub, elevated garden space with city views, rooftop multi-sports court, and car and bicycle parking for staff and students.

The site has a seven level basement and adjoins the heritage-listed, fully operational Mary Glowrey Building (MGB) built in 1924.

Chief Operating Officer & Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Australian Catholic University Dr Stephen Weller said the building would consolidate campus operations in Melbourne, uniting students and staff into one location.

“We celebrate today the reality of what we envisioned seven years ago,” Dr Weller said.

“It’s been a long journey but our passion and purpose remain. This is the largest and most significant building project in our history.”

Project Manager Dusanka Koromilas said construction commenced in November 2018 and more than 890,000 hours had been worked to date.

Ms Koromilas said the significant scale and complexity of the project meant that more than 12,000 m3 concrete, 2593 tonnes of reo and 2,500 tonnes of steel had been used.

“The project has also exceeded local procurement targets and navigated the challenges of workforce shortages and major supply chain issues caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic,” Ms Koromilas said.

“To be at this milestone of the project despite these significant disruptions is a testament to the dedication of the BESIX Watpac team and all workers on the project.”


  • The Mary Glowrey building, is the former Commonwealth Note and Stamp Printing Building designed by the Commonwealth Bank’s official architect John Kirkpatrick and constructed in 1924. The building is considered culturally significant as “the former origin of all legal tender in Australia in the period when Melbourne was the seat of the Commonwealth Government and the capital of Australia”. The final day of note printing at 115 Victoria Parade took place on 19 October 1981.
  • The development of the new St Teresa of Kolkata Building has been funded from the proceeds of the ACU Sustainability Bond which was issued by the university in 2018. This bond was the first Sustainability Bond issued in the country.
  • The new building is targeting 5-Star Green Star Design & As Built ratings.
  • The Top Out Ceremony tradition dates back to the 14th century where hoisting an evergreen tree onto the highest point is said to bring good fortune to the building and its occupants.

^ Chief Operating Officer & Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Australian Catholic University Dr Stephen Weller (left) with BESIX Watpac Victorian and South Australian General Manager Simon Ballard.

^ BESIX Watpac Project Manager Dusanka Koromilas.

^ The BESIX Watpac project team.

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