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FJMT's $220m Charles Perkins Centre – The University of Sydney

24 Sep

FJMT continue on their winning streak with this ultra-industrial gleaming alpolic and sandstone clad structure.

Modernist Brutalism is coming back in, fat camp style.

Budget- $220 million
Architect- FJMT
Builder- Brookfield Multiplex


Artist’s rendering (copyright FJMT)



The building is a standard reinforced concrete construction with an interesting cladding mixture of aluminium composite panel (alpolic), sandstone and glass. The sandstone side attempts (!) to enter a dialogue with the Gothic St John’s College opposite. Its machine-like Brutalist design states clearly that it is a building of laboratories and research.



The University of Sydney spent $220 million on a new research and education centre that will focus on the diagnosis and treatment of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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The cash for the project was raised through a combination of a government infrastructure bond and private university funding.
Covering 46,700 square metres the area is equal to a 30-storey office block, or similar to the Sydney Cricket Ground.


Once completed it will be home to about 950 researchers and 1455 undergraduates with a variety of laboratory spaces, clinical research facilities and a biobank.

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Through the looking glass and beyond

6 Jun

Yuko Narushima, SMH June 4, 2011

Welcoming … light and and airy spaces draw a constant flow of patrons to Surry Hills library.

Technology and changing habits are transforming libraries the world over, writes Yuko Narushima.

In the library of the future, a robot will find the book you want, remove it from its shelf and deliver it to a service counter for your collection.

It will take minutes between ordering the book online and having the pages in your hands.

That library is being built at Macquarie University, which will become the first Australian university to install a robotic crane as part of an automated storage and retrieval system. By putting 80 per cent of its stack in a compressed space, the university can keep its collection on site.

The new $70m Macquarie University Library will be built on vacant land south of buildings W3A, C3A and C3B along Macquarie Drive and will open in 2010. Designed by Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp it represents a new generation of library design – full of dynamic spaces for learning, rather than the traditional notion of a library only as a quiet, storage facility for printed materials.

That is a luxury other libraries are giving up. The University of NSW and the University of Sydney are cutting back on hard copies, either by discarding duplicates or moving titles into storage.

All over the world, libraries are coming to grips with the limits of shelf space and the changing demands of their members.

The University of Oxford faced opposition when it ran out of shelves at the centuries-old Bodleian Library and trucked books to what The Guardian called an ”unlovely but pragmatic” industrial estate on the outskirts of Swindon, 45 kilometres away.

When the Ernest S. Bird Library, at Syracuse University in the US, tried to move books 400 kilometres away, staff and students ran a campaign to ”free Bird” and keep the tomes close.

Syracuse University’s main library is the Brutalist classic Ernest S. Bird Library, which opened in 1972. Its seven levels contain 2.3 million books, 11,500 periodicals, 45,000 feet (14,000 m) of manuscripts and rare books, 3.6 million microforms, and a café.

So the University of Sydney librarian, John Shipp, was prepared when protesters united on Facebook to fight the renovation planned at the Fisher Library. Students and staff borrowed 1100 books in a single hour to save them from storage. Of those 160 hadn’t been borrowed since 1979.

”Touching an icon like Fisher Library has to engender some protest. You would expect it to,” Shipp says. ”In universities where they care about scholarship, there’s always protest.”

Uncatalogued gems worth thousands have been unearthed at Fisher. Since the removal process began, librarians have discovered a first edition of Indian Currency and Finance by John Maynard Keynes and an 1892 copy of The Story of a Puppet or the Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, and moved them to the cherished rare book collection. Shipp expects to find 18,000 more.

The library manager for the City of Sydney, David Sharman, says public libraries are also changing. Their function has gone from a warehouse for books to a pleasant place in which people want to spend time. There, the focus on book preservation of 40 years ago is now balanced against the demands of visitors, who want more than to sit on a patch of carpet with a book on their lap.

”The belief at the time was that books and light don’t mix because it makes the paper fade,” he says. ”We’ve gone full circle because natural light and people do mix.”

Libraries are becoming airier. Rows of shelves are opening out to lounges and cafes. Desks come with powerpoints for students to plug in laptops and sunlight passes over squat shelves that no longer need a ladder for access.

Search engines have also changed the information people look for. Requests for low-level information – what Sharman calls ”Wikipedia-level references” – have given way to increased interest in niche information. Search engines and websites such as Wikipedia satisfy the initial demand for information.

”[Wikipedia] may be right, it may be wrong, but it will give you an answer,” Sharman says.

The digitisation of reference material, including encyclopedias and dictionaries, also delivers access to quality information at home. Library members can log on using their library card number and trawl through databases in their lounge rooms.

For fiction, demand in libraries for e-books has so far been small. Instead of shifting novels online, community libraries are tailoring hardcopy collections to match the interests of their members.

In Surry Hills, for example, the library carries extra titles on art and design. Expectant mothers read up on parenting and first home-owners peruse books on decorating.

The Haymarket library Sydney Council library branch. Formerly CBC Bank (1873).

In Waterloo, young families prefer a more traditional collection, with books for young readers. The Haymarket library has the city’s Asian language collection. Across a number of libraries, graphic novels, or comic books, are pulling the traditionally hard-to-lure demographic aged between 20 and 30, Sharman says.

”There’s some serious literature written in this form now. People immediately think of male teenagers but there’s an entire literary world of graphic novels,” he says. For the nine inner-city libraries he manages, 25 per cent of visitors are tertiary students, he says, many of whom live in share houses and are seeking a pleasant space to spend time. And librarians are less inclined to hush chatter, perhaps in the recognition that their buildings are becoming meeting places for people seeking free public space, indoors.

In the new Ryde Library, shelves are arranged in Y-shapes according to genre. Books on health are clustered. Home and garden titles sit together.

”Like a bookshop,” the library services manager, Jill Webb, says. The furniture and bookshelves float on wheels to allow for easy reconfiguration.

Webb expects libraries to change further. It would be a brave librarian to predict what the library of 2030 would look like, she says.

”Where libraries are going is something of an unknown. The best thing that we can do is be very open-minded and be willing and able to change,” she says.

While the automated system coming to Macquarie might work for a research library – where members know what they are looking for – community libraries cater for a different set of readers.

Public libraries are committed to an open stack that gives people direct access to the books, Sharman says. ”We have a lot of use from people browsing. They say, ‘I’m after a design book. Even if they’re after a particular one, once they get to the section there’s usually two or three that will catch their eyes,” he says.

”There’s no doubt digital books and information are becoming increasingly important,” says Sharman, ”but the paper book has still got a long way to go yet.”

Melbourne- Stripping the glitter from architecture's 'golden' oldies

7 Feb

SMH February 5, 2011 Julie Szego

Waging a guerilla war against change is actually an attempt to snub history by trying to evade its march.

WHENEVER I am waiting for a green light at the corner of Elizabeth and Grattan streets in Parkville, my gaze is drawn to the former Ampol House. The building, now called the Elizabeth Towers Hotel, has a quirky, slightly space-age vibe that inspires mild curiosity. The corner tower, framed by blue tiling, curves around what is apparently Melbourne’s tallest concrete spiral stairway and is crowned with two flagpoles and a neon sign.

Having casually admired the building countless times, I researched its origins and then searched my heart about the prospect of it being razed (we’ll come to why in a tick).

Despite all you’re about to read, when change, with its PowerPoint efficiency, swoops on a thing from the past that helps ground me in the present, I too feel the pain.

It is only natural. But in recent times a healthy regard for heritage, and fierce sense of place, appears to have morphed into a pervasive and crippling anxiety about the future.

Let’s go back to old Ampol House. The National Trust says the 1958 building is the last of its kind, designed in ”a style that appears to belong to the early modernist period of 20 years previously”. In other words, it was always a throwback.

As its original name suggests, the building once housed the headquarters of a major Australian petrol company; initially a pump station was incorporated at ground level. These days it houses nothing and no one.

Melbourne University, which owns the site, wants to knock the building down to make way for the $210 million Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity. As its name, which carries that of an Australian Nobel laureate, suggests, the proposed addition to Parkville’s medical research precinct is about luring top scientists to Victoria, pooling expertise with the aid of proximity, being battle-ready for the next pandemic, and a host of other noble objectives. Complications, procedural and political, have dogged this project, but the point is the institute can’t get off the ground.

The council has blocked the proposal, largely on heritage grounds. The university, which says it stands to lose millions in federal funding, has been forced to fight the matter through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

So which would you choose? The institute or the architectural anachronism from the heritage B-list? An investment that may help save many lives or saving the life of one vacant building?

It should be a no-brainer. But in fairness to the council, its decision is in perfect harmony with the zeitgeist.

The Save Our Suburbs movement of the 1990s has now splintered into cells of rescue workers, ready for deployment at the first ominous murmur from developers or public officials. So much appears to need saving from the tide of change: the railway gate and the bloke who opens it, the bridge, the pier, the point, the strip of grass, the hotel, the sauce and its bottle.

Even if their numbers are small, protest groups are changing the conversation.

Consider the state Liberal Party’s pre-election pitch, which was strikingly conservative in a literal sense: protect Melbourne from the ”wrecking ball”, return the rattling W-class trams to commuter routes, resume alpine cattle grazing, review the council proposal for a new boat ramp and breakwater facility at Mallacoota, reopen the gates at the previously hazardous railway level crossing in New Street, Brighton.

This week I asked a spokeswoman for Planning Minister Matthew Guy whether he supports building the Doherty Institute on the Parkville site – his department being a respondent to the VCAT proceedings. She never responded.

Of course, Labor once drank from the same rusty well. A folksy 2006 press release from then planning minister Rob Hulls declared the Barwon Heads bridge – rotting, cracking and splitting but boosted by its 15 minutes of SeaChange fame – had been ”saved”. Four years later, the bridge controversy rumbles on and helped make a casualty of the local Labor MP.

All of the following are givens: Melbourne could do a lot better at adapting what it already has for new uses, an engaged and passionate community is a good one, the mistakes of the past should be avoided, give up too much of what’s known and trusted and we risk losing our bearings and our sanity as well. But waging a guerilla war against change is actually an attempt to snub history by trying to evade its march.

And that’s why planning schemes or heritage codes aren’t the point. There’s a deeper crisis of faith involved. I’ve tended to assume that a loss of belief in the future, in the whole notion of progress, drives the compulsion to pickle our cities. But then recently a friend was bemoaning a plan to upgrade her suburban railway station. ”I love its unfinished character,” she said. ”If the plan goes ahead, it’ll be time for me to move.”

OK, she’s a middle class resident of a well-to-do-suburb who can afford to romanticise crumbling infrastructure. Still, could her attitude reflect a more general unease?

Maybe fear of success – the prospect of arriving, of things being ”finished” – is the real neurosis of these privileged times. After all, if the new bridge works a treat, if the trams run faster, if the institute gets built then even more people will want to come here, right? And that, of course, would only bring more change.


Statement of Significance
The former Ampol Building, designed by Bernard Evans & Associates, and completed in 1958 is architecturally and historically important at the Regional level.

Architecturally, the building is notable principally for its dramatic glazed circular corner tower, housing Melbourne’s tallest concrete spiral stair. The tower is accentuated by the flanking blue tiled wing walls topped by flagpoles, and neon sign.

Historically, it is of interest as a building that is designed in a style that appears to belong to the early modernist period of twenty years previously, and is by far the last major building designed in this tradition in Victoria. It is also of interest as the headquarters of one of the major petrol companies in Victoria, which were all undergoing great expansion at that time, and for originally incorporating a petrol station at the ground level.

Gehry at UTS- the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building

16 Dec

The building is named for Australian-Chinese business leader Dr Chau Chak Wing who donated a total of $25 million to UTS; $20 million to support the new Business School designed by Frank Gehry, and an additional $5 million to create an endowment fund for Australia-China student scholarships. It is the first Australian building by Gehry Partners. About the building A key component of UTS’s City Campus Master Plan, the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building will provide teaching, learning, research and office accommodation for the UTS Business School. There will be extensive public spaces in the new building, including student lounges, cafes and outdoor roof terraces. The total project value is $150 million. The building will provide 16,030 sqm of space, spread over 11 floors. The UTS vision The University of Technology, Sydney has a singular vision, expressed in our strategic plan – to be a world-leading university of technology. To achieve this, our leadership in learning and teaching must be coupled with international renown in research, and a world-class infrastructure that supports our vibrant intellectual environment. The achievement of our vision relies on attracting high quality students, academics, researchers and administrators; people who are passionate about knowledge, learning, discovery and creativity. Gehry Partners, LLP Gehry Partners, LLP is a full service firm with broad international experience in academic, commercial, museum, performance, and residential projects. Frank Gehry established his practice in Los Angeles, California in 1962. The Gehry partnership, Gehry Partners, LLP, was formed in 2001 and currently supports a staff of over 120 people. Frank Gehry is among the world’s best-known architects. His milestone projects include the Bilbao Guggenheim Museum and the Los Angeles Walt Disney Concert Hall. Every project undertaken by Gehry Partners is designed personally and directly by Frank Gehry. Ross Milbourne, UTS Vice-Chancellor & President Professor Milbourne received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of NSW, and his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. His interests have been in the general area of macroeconomics and, in particular, the mathematical modelling and statistical testing of macroeconomic theories. During the last decade his research has focused on economic growth in open economies – economies that allow free international movement of goods and capital. His previous appointments include Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of New South Wales, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of Adelaide and Chair of the Research Grants Committee of the Australian Research Council. Philanthropy Australian-Chinese business leader Dr Chau Chak Wing has donated a total of $25 million to UTS; $20 million to support the new Business School designed by Frank Gehry, and an additional $5 million to create an endowment fund for Australia-China student scholarships. The gift makes Dr Chau one of the leading philanthropists in the Asia-Pacific region. In recognition of the gift – the largest ever made to an Australian university – UTS Council determined to name the new Gehry-designed Business School building the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building. Design & construction timeframe Construction will start in early 2012 and be complete in time for the 2014 Academic year. In January 2011, UTS will undertake community and stakeholder consultation on the new design. This consultation forms part of the “Part 3A” submission that UTS will make to the NSW Department of Planning for approval of the design. Economic and tourism benefits The Dr Chau Chak Wing building is the centrepiece of the $1 billion City Campus Master Plan which is expected to generate an estimated $3.2 billion in NSW economic activity. 1,700 jobs are expected to be generated each year over the 10-year construction period. The Chau building is estimated to attract 24,000 interstate visitors and 2,000 international visitors each year, adding $36 million to the tourism industry through spending by business event visitors annually. Source: Independent modelling by Urbis. Local team A local consultant team – comprising Australian architects Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke, engineers and other specialist disciplines – has been appointed to work alongside Gehry Partners. For the full project team listing visit the project page. Sustainability The Master Plan is integral to UTS achieving its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and a variety of holistic sustainability goals. As one of the new buildings proposed by the Master Plan, UTS and Gehry Partners intend to seek a 5-Star Green Star Educational Building Rating for the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building. Source- Websites





UTS City Campus Master Plan & Student Housing Tower and Building 6 podium extension

13 Mar

UTS City Campus Master Plan

2010 has already been a year of milestones for the City Campus Master Plan: excavation of Alumni Green has started for the Multi-Purpose Sports Hall (MPSH); the builder is on site for construction of the Student Housing Tower above Building 6; and, the NSW Department of Planning has approved the Broadway Precinct Concept Plan.

Issue 02 of UTS: InProgress, the City Campus Master Plan newsletter, focuses on these achievements. FMU project manager David Hughes talks to us about the MPSH while Hutchinson Builders explain how they’ll be managing construction of the Student Housing Tower above Building 6.

As teaching starts, staff and students will notice the noise that inevitably accompanies any construction work. UTS has worked hard with all the consultants and contractors to ensure that the noisiest works take place outside of semester time and business hours.

But if you feel as though the disruption is unacceptable, or if you have noticed a potential hazard, you should let us know. To find out the best way to get in touch, refer to the “Tell us What you Think” section of this newsletter.

We are also preparing a UTS-wide online forum towards the end of Semester 1. This will be a great opportunity for staff and students to provide feedback on the construction process and associated communications.

The next issue of UTS: InProgress will appear in May 2010.

Patrick Woods
Deputy-Vice Chancellor (Resources)


Construction starts for UTS City Campus Master Plan
27 Jan 2010

A large-scale expansion and redevelopment of the UTS City campus has begun, with construction underway on a new student housing tower at the rear of the existing Peter Johnson building in Harris St.

Student Laurence Wainwright, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Resources) Patrick Woods and Premier Keneally
NSW Premier Kristina Keneally visited the site last week to announce the Government’s approval of the $427 million Broadway Precinct Concept Plan, a key component of the overall UTS City Campus Master Plan. The concept plan covers four new buildings and a number of major refurbishments, relocations and new social hubs.

Another construction crew is due to arrive on campus before the end of the month to start work on the plan’s second project, a multi-purpose sports hall that will be built underground adjacent to the existing UTS Fitness Centre.

Meanwhile, the detailed design for a new landmark building on Broadway is underway, as is a design competition to extend the podium of the UTS Tower and the adjacent Building 2 to provide new student facilities.

Ms Keneally said the plan includes 58,750 square metres of additional floor space for educational, retail, cultural and sporting uses; more than 25,000 square metres of extra floor space to house 720 students in studio and shared apartments; and an extra 70 bicycle spaces for resident students.

“This redevelopment will allow the University of Technology to further cement its role as a key educational, medical, research and technology centre,” she said.

“The $70 million student accommodation project meets the needs of an increasing student population, but importantly it will also reduce demand for rental housing in the local area, and boost affordability.”

UTS Deputy-Vice Chancellor (Resources) Patrick Woods said the approval had given the green light to change the face of education at UTS. “As well as improving facilities for our students and staff, our plans are also aimed at making UTS more accessible to the local community. By establishing better pedestrian networks, we want to invite our neighbours onto campus to take advantage of new facilities such as the proposed gallery, cinema, café and retail spaces.”

Under the planning approval, the university has committed to:

Maximising retail, student union and other activities at ground level, increasing the activation of the street frontage
Maximising pedestrian access into and through the site
Offsetting overshadowing through improved building frontages, better defined street edges and other public domain works, and
Achieving very high environmental performance ratings for its academic buildings
The multi-purpose sports hall will be the first project completed under the master plan, in time for the start of semester one next year. The student housing tower is scheduled for completion by the end 2011.

Contact: Terry Clinton Ph: +61 2 9514 1623


Student Housing Tower and Building 6 podium extension

Project description
This new residential tower will rise from the existing Building 6 podium. The provision of 720 student beds, spread across the 13-level tower, will resolve UTS’s longstanding lack of on-campus student accommodation. To build the new tower, the university will extend the existing Building 6 podium to create new teaching, learning and social spaces for staff and students.

By bringing students directly onto campus, UTS will provide a more vibrant social atmosphere to the City Campus week-in, week-out. This accommodation will be a key factor in making UTS a ‘sticky campus’, a place where students come not just to study but socialise and relax as well. The around-the-clock presence of students on campus will also generate increased patronage for local businesses.

Lodged between an apartment complex and the ABC’s commercial tower, the student accommodation design responds to multiple generators. The Harris Street facade presents a syncopated visual rhythm that distinguishes it from its neighbours. The facade comprises irregularly spaced windows of varying width, interspersed with coloured, pre-cast concrete panels. The fully-glazed UPN facade reads as three distinct vertical forms, separated by two voids. The glazed facade solution maximises views to the Sydney CBD.

Programme Dates
•Hoardings within the UPN – 90% Complete (Awaiting Mirvac works to complete)
•Hoardings within UTS – 02/03/10 to 06/03/10
•Concrete base in fill to the lift shaft – Complete
•Jump form commencement – 02/03/10 to 06/03/10
•Level 7 re-location and demolition 02/03/10 – 23/04/10
•Level 5-7 structural works to southern side – 08/03/10 to 23/04/10
•Piling to the transfer wall – TBC but likely 06/03/10
•Structure to Level 3 – 08/03/10 to 30/03/10
Public Documents
•Staff and Student toolkit [pdf, 5.5mb], uploaded 17 February 2010
•Faculty of DAB Staff Forum presentation [pdf, 1.8mb], uploaded 14 December 2009
•Weekly cohabitation meeting updates [links to full list of available documents]
Key features
•The Infill and extension of the CB06 podium will provide 5,950m² of new teaching and social space for UTS
•A roof-top garden with stunning views of the surrounding city district caps the new building
•A new cafe at ground level will help animate the Ultimo Pedestrian Network (UPN)
•Extensive communal facilities on level 8 (above the podium on the UPN side), including theatrette, music room, games room, computer room and outdoor BBQ terrace
•Range of student accommodation including private self-contained studios as well as multi-bedroom units with shared facilities
•The existing Building 6 (CB06), primarily occupied by the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building (DAB), will remain occupied and operational throughout the construction period
•Most general teaching functions normally held in CB06 will be relocated to other areas within the university

Sustainability features
•Building targets a 5-Star Green Star rating, under multi-residential category
•Predominantly naturally ventilated building with good daylight penetration
•Green construction management practices, including certified environmental management and waste management plans, contribute to the environmental rating
•Prioritisation of environmentally-friendly construction materials
•Building the tower on top of an existing building limits requirement for new foundations and associated carbon-generating activities
Project Data
Size:13-level tower above new and existing podium, 720 student beds, spread over 19,200m²
Project budget:$75 million
Key dates:•Construction start: December 2009 (pending planning approval)
•Estimated Completion: December 2011
Project procurement:Design and Construct contract
Project team:•UTS Project Manager: Campus Development, Planning and Design Review Branch, Facilities Management Unit
•Contractor: Hutchinson Builders
•Architect: Nettleton Tribe
•Harris Street facade architect: Lacoste and Stevenson
•Consultant Team: JBA (town planner), WT Partnership (quantity surveyor), Monaghan Surveyors (surveyor), Viridis E3 (environmental), Halcrow MWT (traffic and parking), Morris-Goding (accessibility consultant), Waterman AHW (ventilation engineers), Acoustic Logic (noise assessment), Windtech (reflectivity and wind environment), Douglas Partners (Geotechnical), BG&E (structural engineers), JD MacDonald (waste management), City Plan Services (BCA), Defire (fire and safety), GDK (hydraulic engineer), Building Services (communications), DSA (BCA, section J)
More Information
Berlin Ng, Senior Planning Officer, Ext. 2823, email:

Theodorus Gofers, Senior Project Manager, Ext. 4426, email:


UTS Broadway Building (ITE Building)

13 Mar

Project description
Angled, semi-transparent “binary screens” envelope the winning proposal for the Broadway Building Design Competition (opens an external site) by architect Denton Corker Marshall. The screens provide the building with a dramatic urban presence. They are made of aluminium sheets perforated with binary code, the series of “1s” and “0s” that underpins computer programming language. The building is also known as the Information Technology and Engineering (ITE) Building.

Reflecting the final tenant of the building, the binary code reads ‘University of Technology, Sydney Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology.’

The architect’s design concept positions the new building as a single, sculptural object in the city. “Gills” creased into the aluminium plates of the binary screen punctuate the façade and symbolically reinforce the building as a living, breathing structure. A crevasse-like pedestrian atrium runs through the heart of the building, both horizontally and vertically. It will connect the local neighbourhood to the UTS education precinct.

A floor-to-roof atrium sits
at the heart of the building
Key features
•Internal planning creates strong visual connections through the atrium space and fosters inter-collegial interaction and collaboration
•Vertical planning places most public functions at ground floor level and most private at upper levels
•Academic and research students clustered around interactive and break-out spaces along internal circulation routes
•Internal spaces defined by access to daylight and fresh air
•Building will accommodate some 500 staff and 4,300 students
Sustainability features
•Minimum 5-Star Green Star Rating
•Energy saving strategy is to deliver a 30% – 45% energy saving over benchmark tertiary educational buildings with similar functional spaces.
•45% shading co-efficient of the external ‘binary code’ screen estimated to bring about a 10-15% operational energy saving.
•Other key components include:
?450m² solar array which collects water and provides filtered daylight to atrium
?under floor air distribution system
?low energy lighting
?double-glazed facade with night-purge opening panels
Project Data
Size:27,000sqm useable floor area, 14 levels
Construction value:$170 million
Key dates:•Design Competition winner announced: July 2009 (opens an external site)
•Construction estimated: mid-2010 to end 2012
Design procurement:Design Excellence Competition (opens an external site)
Project team:•UTS Project Manager: Campus Development, Planning and Design Review Branch, Facilities Management Unit
•Architect: Denton Corker Marshall

More Information
For more information contact the project manager: Gregory Graham , p: 9514 4687, email:

UTS Tower- Education with altitude

21 Jan

5 May 2008

The building most readily identified with UTS is Building 1, better known as the Tower. On more than one occasion it has been singled out as Sydney’s ugliest building. For many UTS staff, this has become a matter of pride. The Tower has provoked beautification schemes from irate architects. It has inspired kitsch material culture in the form of Tower lapel pins and snow domes, both now sought-after objects. And it has given rise to various stories about its design and construction.
Some journalists from the nearby Fairfax building rowed across the flooded excavation site in an idle moment.

The original 1964 plan provided for a row of seven twelve-storey buildings on the site. This was gradually modified. In 1965 it was to be four buildings of fifteen, twenty, nineteen and fourteen storeys. And by 1966, three buildings were planned of thirteen, twenty-two and sixteen storeys with two basements and five podium levels. By the mid-1970s, with cutbacks in Commonwealth funding, the grand plan was reduced to two buildings, the second to be beheaded. In the euphoria of the late sixties and early seventies, however, with money readily available and the Brickfield Hill campus bursting at the seams, NSWIT – which became UTS in 1988 and the largest of the institutions which ultimately amalgamated as the new UTS in 1990 – was keen to acquire new buildings. Continue reading