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The long-awaited Frank Gehry design for the University of Technology Sydneys new Business School has been unveiled.
Gehrys design for the brand new, $150 million Dr Chau Chak Wing building was described by the architect as a cluster of tree-houses, featuring a trunk and core of activity and branches for people to connect and do their private work.
The building, which will be built at the corner of Ultimo Road and Omnibus Lane on the site of the former Dairy Farmers building, will feature two distinctive facades in a trademark Gehry design. The east façade curves and folds like soft fabric, and will be constructed using buff-coloured bricks to match the colour of Sydney Sandstone. The texture of the brick surface will emphasise the mass of the material, according to Gehrys design statement. The second distinctive façade, facing west, will feature large shards of glass designed reflect the surrounding buildings.
The 11-storey, 16,030 square-metre building will accommodate teaching and learning spaces, a 240-seat auditorium, research and academic areas and a large function space with views of the harbour. Gehrys concept for the tree houses is based on vertical stacks of working areas that can view into neighbouring stacks, allowing for focused study areas as well as encouraging cross-disciplinary exchange.
UTS Vice Chancellor Ross Milbourne said the building would undoubtedly become an architectural landmark for Sydney, but that the University was concentrating on ensuring the design meets the needs of the Business School and the University.
This is a building for all of Sydney. There will be extensive public spaces with an external design that complements and acknowledges its place within the immediate area and within the city.
Professor Milbourne added that four UTS architecture students have been selected for internships at Gehry Partners LA studio.
The University received a substantial funding gift of $25 million from Australian-Chinese business leader Dr Chau Chak Wing earlier this year, $20 million of which will be pumped into the Gehry project. The University has named the new faculty building after Dr Chau Chak Wing in recognition of the philanthropic gift.
Professor Milbourne stressed the design remained subject to modification, pending approval and community consultation. Community and stakeholder consultation will run from 17 December until 14 January. Construction is due to begin in early 2012, with the building finished in time for the start of the 2014 academic year.
*Images* courtesy Gehry Partners