A new design by one of the world’s most esteemed architects, Frank Gehry, was unveiled last month in Australia. Plans for a new business school at Sydney’s University of Technology (UTS) will bring, school officials hope, a new archietcural landmark for the city of Sydney.

The Dr. Chau Chak Wing Building will be 11 stories tall, with a total floor area of 16,030 square meters. The building’s front and back will have very different facades: on one side, a curved and squished brick design will create wavy walls that reference the sandstone and brick of Sydney’s traditional built environment. On the other side, large sheets of glass will be pieced together to reflect the images of the surrounding buildings.

The UTS campus is an urban one, blending into Sydney’s Ultimo neighborhood. While they hoped for architectural greatness, school officials focused, in choosing a design for the building, says UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Ross Milbourne, on ensuring that the needs of students and professors were well met. UTS is spending $150 million to construct the building.

Gehry designed the Dr. Chau Chak Wing Building using a tree house as inspiration. He referenced the ground levels, which will include a café, an auditorium that can seat 240, and other common spaces, as “a trunk and core of activity.” Then, he said, above there are “branches for people to connect and do their private work.”

Other common spaces in the building include rooftop terraces and student lounges. Classrooms, offices and communal workspace will allow for ample teaching and research locations. Construction on the building is slated to begin in early 2012, with a completion date that allows the school to open for the 2014 academic school year. Green features in the building’s design will include low-energy, smart air conditioning units, use of natural lighting and window glazing to minimize lighting energy use, and rainwater capture and storage for use in bathroom facilities and cooling towers.

Amazingly, the building is bringing a boom to the UTS before ground has even been broken: four UTS architecture students were recently selected for internships at the Gehry Partners studio in Los Angeles.

Leave a Reply