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    Beauty and the Beast: FJMT wrap UTS’s brutalist landmark with curvaceous glass structure

    Nathan Johnson

    The University of Technology Sydney continues its enthusiastic development of its City Campus at Broadway, lodging its sixth major Development Application in as many years for a new building and upgraded podium for the infamous UTS Tower.

    Since 2009 UTS have been busy developing their City Campus according to a BVN masterplan to bring it up to their long term strategic vision ‘to be one of the world’s leading universities of technology’. Projects from Denton Corker Marshall Architects, PTW Architects, Aspect Studios, Durbach Block Jaggers with BVN, Hassell, and Draw Architects in association with Kann Finch Architects have since been completed or approved for development in an around the Broadway campus.

    Now it’s Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp’s (FJMT) turn. The Sydney architects have submitted the latest proposal for the redevelopment of a new tower on the UTS CB02 site which will also share a podium with 1979-built UTS Tower, designed in association with Lacoste+Stevenson I Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke, dubbed ‘Sydney’s ugliest building’.

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    FJMT’s Building CB02 sits directly beside CB01 (UTS Tower) and across from Durbach Block Jaggers and BVN’s Building 7 and Denton Corker Marshall’s Building 11
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    FJMT will demolish the existing building 2 down to ground level and construct a new podium designed in association with Lacoste+Stevenson I Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke fronting Broadway that will link with the UTS tower and back onto the Campus’ Alumni Green a vibrant, tree-lined city public park at the heart of the university designed by Aspect Studios.

    They’ve also proposed a new 17-storey glazed tower (CB02) which will have sequentially stepped-back and rotating floorplates starting from the lowest level of the tower on the podium to the top floor. The tower will appear to lean away from UTS Tower and Broadway Street to prevent overshadowing on the neighbouring Central Park development and to maintain the prominence of the UTS tower on Broadway.

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    Lacoste+Stevenson I Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke's design of the facade for the UTS podium extension distinctly contrasts with the solid defensive image of the existing tower that rises from it. The glass façade will be a combination of flat and curved surfaces with minimal structural support and widely spaced mullions running floor-to-floor creating a soft and almost pliable appearance. Continuous transoms are aligned with the joints of horizontal proportioned glass panels adding to the transparency while a white ceramic frit is proposed for glass panels and patterns the façade.

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    Similarly, the materiality and form of the 17-storey CB02 deeply contrasts with the UTS Tower.  It will comprise two major façade types; Type 1 being a closed cavity façade with cavity blinds, not unlike the system used at FJMT’s 200 George Street project; and Type 2, a clear flush glazing that will form the outer skin of the tower’s wintergarden, which will be situated on the Tower’s northern aspect overlooking the Alumni Green.  

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    Type 1 (top) and Type 2 (above) glazing.

    Connection with the Alumni Green is a key element of the design and FJMT have use a mixture of massing strategies, façade materials and landscaped elements to make such a connection. Terraces on lower levels of the podium are orientated toward Alumni Green and a wintergarden will grow from the top of the podium to a rooftop terrace. Facade types also change to enhance transparency and visual connectivity from Alumni Green.

    The new floor space will accommodate a range of educational and ancillary educational uses, such as:

    • Library
    • Research
    • Teaching Space
    • Informal Learning Space
    • Student Centre
    • Student Union Spaces
    • Food and Beverage Outlets
    • Academic (including Faculty space)

    The project will target a 5 Star Green Star Certified Design & As-Built Rating.

    Images: FJMT

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