Design revealed for UTS Thomas Street Building

July 8, 2011

Durbach Block Jaggers and BVN Architecture win design competition for new Thomas Street Building at UTS.

A design by Durbach Block Jaggers in association with BVN Architecture has won the design competition for the new Thomas Street Building at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

The design team’s proposal for a “building with a sensitive, human-scale character… responds to the vibrancy of campus life while also ensuring that we have the facilities we need for ground-breaking teaching, learning and research,” said UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Ross Milbourne.

The building will serve the Faculty of Science, and will also play a key role in the civic presence of the University in its location overlooking Alumni Green.

Neil Durbach, principal of Durbach Block Jaggers, said of their design: “A key challenge was to reconcile the seemingly clinical function of the building with its position at the edge of the university’s inner sanctum. Creating an animated façade similar to a tree branching was one strategy but we worked hard to ensure this didn’t compromise the technical requirements of the building, nor its green credentials.”

The façade fronting Alumni Green is four-storeys high, stepping up to five storeys on the façade overlooking Thomas Street. A green roof will be introduced on the roof of the fourth floor overlooking Alumni Green. The design’s undulating façade features a changing window grid that softens the building’s form. On the ground level, a colonnaded arcade provides connection between the Green and Thomas Street.

Durbach Block Jaggers and BVN Architecture’s design was selected from a pool of seven entries from Australian architects, with teams selected for participation in the competition following an Expression of Interest process. Other shortlisted teams were Grimshaw Architects, HASSELL, Johnson Pilton Walker, Kerry Hill Architects + Arina Consulting, Lyons Architects with Terroir, and Tonkin Zulaikha Greer.

The project is one of the new buildings proposed as part of the $1 billion UTS Campus Masterplan. Construction on the Thomas Street Building is expected to begin in mid-2012, with the facility open in time for the start of the 2014 academic year.

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