The University of Sydney is set to undergo a $1.4 billion redevelopment after NSW Minister for Planning Pru Goward announced the approval of the concept proposal as a State Significant Development over the weekend.

Echoing the nearby University of Technology Sydney’s campus expansion plans, which includes the launch of Frank Gehry’s undulating brick building, Sydney University’s proposal will create new education facilities for approximately 10,000 new students at its Camperdown and Darlington campuses, such as the total rebuilding of its Engineering and Health precincts.

It will also provide extra campus accommodation for 4,000 students, and improve access and parking with modern, underground parking envisaged for many of the new buildings, and designated drop-off and pickup points that can be used by private vehicles, buses and taxis. Pedestrian and cycling networks will be further established across the campuses.

According to The Australian, approximately eight buildings will be demolished and replaced under the plan, including Wentworth, Merewether, School of Architecture and International House.

“We are competing with each other and internationally to attract students with the best facilities,” explained Greg Robinson, director of Campus and Infrastructure Services, adding that many of the university’s buildings are “well past their use-by date.”

However, Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence maintained the redevelopment would respect the university’s long heritage while paving the way for substantial growth and improvement.

“This plan maintains our heritage by ensuring buildings are protected and preserved, significantly increases affordable housing places for students, and addresses environmental sustainability through building height restrictions and a campus greening project,” he said.

One of the six proposed campus precincts is the Cultural Precinct, which seeks to convert the heritage significant Science Road area as a principal visitor destination accommodating cultural museum and heritage components.

While construction on the new lecture halls and classrooms will begin this year, with the final plan expected to be rolled out over 15 years, Sydney University has already begun work on $1.1 billion worth of developments.

This includes a new state of the art Australian Institute for Nanoscience by Lend Lease, and the Abercrombie Pecinct Project, where the uppermost floor of the Business School was topped off in June 2014. Designed by Woods Bagot and Kann Finch, the new terracotta clad building will introduce a 500-seat lecture theatre, three 300-seat lecture theatres, a learning hub, and 1,500sqm of informal learning space.

The expansion plans are projected to create almost 15,000 jobs during the construction phase, and 400 full-time permanent positions. 

Abercrombie Precinct Project