Dr Chau Chak Wing Building

Business School della Sydney University of Technology Sydney / Australia / 2014

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The Dr Chau Chak Wing Building is the first building in Australia designed by Frank Gehry, one of the world’s most influential architects. It is a key element of the $1 billion redevelopment of the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) City Campus and will provide teaching, learning, research and office space for UTS Business School.


Located in the education and creative precinct at the southern end of the Sydney CBD, the building will be a physical manifestation of the innovative thinking that underpins the teaching and research undertaken by the Business School and by UTS as a whole. It will be a distinctive building for a distinctive style of education.


“Thinking of it as a tree house came tripping out of my head … A growing, learning organism with many branches of thought.” – Frank Gehry


The design that emerged is striking not only on the outside but also – more importantly – on the inside.


Gehry Partners designs ‘from the inside out’, meaning the interior spaces must be developed before work on design of the building’s exterior can begin. The exterior emerges only as a result of what will happen inside the building.


Frank Gehry’s creative reaction to what he learned about UTS Business School’s approach to learning and research was to sketch a ‘treehouse’ on a café napkin – imagining a building where people can undertake quiet, focused work in offices and other rooms in its ‘branches’ then meet in formal and informal social spaces in the ‘trunk’.


The treehouse metaphor has been realised in a design that encourages interaction – whether in the form of the ‘social’ spaces at the trunk of the building or in the prominent use of stairways, providing the potential for serendipitous meetings.


A striking polished-steel staircase will be the sculptural focal point of the entrance lobby, reflecting the movement of people – and ideas.


In the learning spaces on the lower levels, two ‘log cabin’ style oval classrooms will allow students to interact with each other across the room and with their teacher at the centre or side, rather than having a front-facing focus. A 120-seat lecture theatre will swiftly convert into a format allowing small-group work and back again, while seminar rooms will be configured as flexible, flat-floor spaces with mobile furniture.


The exterior of the building has two aspects and two different but related personalities: an east-facing, sandstone-coloured brick façade that undulates like fabric, and a western façade of angular glass shards that reflects the city back to itself. These contrasting materials refer to the juxtaposition of modern Sydney with its urban brick heritage.


With a tight, urban site in mind, the exterior is designed so it works as a sculptural shape that is revealed in pieces framed by other buildings.


The ‘fluid’ brickwork will be a technical feat. Five custom-made brick shapes have been developed for the project and these will be laid by hand, individually, against special reinforcing panels. The brickwork will be corbelled, with individual bricks jutting out as the façade curves. The play of light on these corbelled bricks will accentuate the curves and change the ‘colour’ of the façade as the light changes.


Ita


La struttura da 150 milioni di dollari, intitolata “Dr Chau Chak Wing Building” dal nome del suo principale finanziatore, il magnate australiano-cinese Chau Chak Wing, sorgerà nel nuovo campus della UTS, la cui realizzazione si svilupperà nel corso di 10 anni con un investimento pari a 1 miliardo di dollari.

Per il progetto della “Dr Chau Chak Wing Building” il team di Gehry ha immaginato una sorta di enorme “casa sull’albero” con una serie di ambienti interconnessi alternati a funzioni dal carattere più introverso dedicate allo studio e a alla ricerca. Strutturato su 11 livelli, il volume sorgerà all’angolo tra la Ultimo Road e Omnibus Lane su un sito attualmente sede di un parcheggio.

"L'edificio avrà due facciate esterne distinte, una composta di mattoni ondulati - a evocare il patrimonio urbano in laterizio di Sydney e la pietra arenaria - l'altra, di grandi dimensioni, in schermi di vetro per frammentare e riflettere l'immagine degli edifici circostanti. Ci saranno ampi spazi pubblici ben contestualizzati rispetto al sito di destinazione e alla città di Sidney.

Dalla University of Technology di Sydney fanno sapere che alcuni elementi della proposta saranno oggetto di ulteriori definizionie modifiche, in attesa dell’approvazione da parte dell'autorità. Intanto venerdì 17 dicembre è partita la consultazione partecipata con stakeholder e cittadini, in corso fino al prossimo 14 gennaio, per accogliere suggerimenti e critiche dalla comunità locale.

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    The Dr Chau Chak Wing Building is the first building in Australia designed by Frank Gehry, one of the world’s most influential architects. It is a key element of the $1 billion redevelopment of the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) City Campus and will provide teaching, learning, research and office space for UTS Business School. Located in the education and creative precinct at the southern end of the Sydney CBD, the building will be a physical manifestation of the innovative...

    Project details
    • Year 2014
    • Work started in 2012
    • Work finished in 2014
    • Client Business School della University of Technology
    • Status Current works
    • Type Colleges & Universities
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