University of Newcastle is reaching out to its alumni to help build the next phase of its inner-city campus in King Street.
The university has announced four finalists in an architectural design competition for Alumni House, a building on the site of the former TPI House, on the corner of Auckland Street opposite Civic Park.
The site has been vacant since the heritage-listed building was deemed unsafe by council engineers and demolished in 2014 against the wishes of the National Trust.
University vice-chancellor Alex Zelinsky launched the design competition in November and this week announced Candalepas Associates + David Boyle Architect, Durbach Block Jaggers, Sam Crawford Architects + Curious Practice, and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer as the four finalists.
Part of the design brief was to "amalgamate and expand the current services, amenities, networking and learning opportunities into a highly visible, inspiring building designed to enable alumni, current students, staff and the local community to excel through connection".
Alumni House would be a "space where past and current student networks can be formed and where student mentoring can take place in the real world", Dr Zelinsky said.
The university had planned to build an innovation hub on the TPI House site but combined that project with its School of Creative Industries in the new Stage 1A building opening soon on Honeysuckle Drive.
"We are again looking to partner with our alumni and communities to create new spaces that encourage engagement, connection to industry and the life-long learning journey that our institution offers," Dr Zelinsky said in a written statement.
"Alumni House is our vision for what will be built on the corner of King Street and Auckland Street in Newcastle. Here our alumni and the wider community will be able to meet and also to engage with staff and students."
The building will be designed to enhance the university's "civic engagement" and contribute to community projects.
The university is approaching its "global alumni network" to help fund the building, as it did in 1971 to raise money for the Great Hall on the Callaghan campus.
"This project is being conceptualised, designed, funded and built through our alumni and communities," Dr Zelinsky said.
The university said it could not yet provide a budget nor concept drawings for the project.