The UTS Business School has taken up residence in an extraordinary new Frank Gehry-designed building in the heart of Sydney.
Australian Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove officially opened Sydney’s latest architectural icon – the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at the University of Technology Sydney – in early February.
Designed by Pritzker Prize winning architect Frank Gehry, the striking building is a key component of UTS’s $1.2 billion City Campus Master Plan, providing teaching, learning, research and office space for around 1600 students and staff at the UTS Business School.
UTS Dean of Business Professor Roy Green said the new building would foster excellence in postgraduate business education and research, and become a compelling venue for executive education, business events and forums.
“We are located at the heart of Sydney’s growing ‘digital creative hub’ and in a hot spot of new business incubation and innovation,” Professor Green said. “Already connected with Sydney’s beating business heart we can now further collaborate with cultural, media, commercial, government and educational organisations, fostering and learning from exciting new start-up enterprises.”
Bound by Ultimo Road, Mary Ann Street and Omnibus Lane, the building will be a key destination on the redeveloped Goods Line that extends from Darling Harbour to Central Station. Teaching will begin in the new UTS Business School at the beginning of Semester One on 23 February.
Dr Chau Chak Wing Building is Frank Gehry’s first Australian project. Inspired by the idea of a treehouse, Gehry describes the building as “a growing learning organism with many branches of thought, some robust and some ephemeral and delicate”.
Determined to not only create a distinctive landmark, Gehry wanted to inspire real and relevant research and learning outcomes. His custom-designed spaces including auditoriums, oval classrooms and collaborative theatres hope to reflect how students learn and to support a relevant and engaging experience, preparing UTS graduates for a fast-paced global workplace.
UTS Vice Chancellor Professor Attila Brungs described the building as a physical manifestation of the innovative thinking that underpins the teaching, learning and research undertaken by the UTS Business school.
“It is a building designed to encourage the sharing of ideas among students and staff alongside our industry and community partners,” she said.
“Frank Gehry has created unique spaces to inspire a life-long love of learning, enable completely new educational experiences and enrich UTS’s approach to research,” said Professor Brungs.
UTS Chancellor Vicki Sara shared similar sentiments, describing the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building as “a masterpiece of design and engineering. It is indeed a work of art. But it is much more than that.”
“This building is a symbol of everything UTS stands for – it epitomises our vision to be a world-leading university of technology where creativity and innovation intersect,” she said.
Noting the generous contribution that Dr Chau Chak Wing and his family have made to UTS, Professor Brungs said “it was an honour and privilege to work with Frank Gehry and Dr Chau Chak Wing who donated $20 million toward completion of this Australian first.”
“His additional gift of $5 million is already making it possible for Australian and Chinese students to study here and in China,” said Professor Brungs.
Every aspect of design was considered during construction, with over 300,000 custom made bricks individually stepped to give the building its iconic fluid shape. Not only a technical feat, the building has received a 5 Star Green Star Design rating by the Green Building Council of Australia for its choice of construction materials, use of energy efficient air conditioning, sustainable timber and roof rainwater system.
Dr Chau Chak Wing himself was extremely impressed with the final project, delighted that Frank Gehry had accepted the UTS commission.
“His design is distinctive, full of passion,” he said. “There is nothing like it in Australia. He is an unparalleled architect.”
Teaching will commence in the new building at the beginning of Semester One on 23 February 2015, however tours are already open to the public. Beginning on Saturday 7 February, tours will allow you to view Sydney’s new architectural landmark.