The world-renowned architect's plans for the $150 million Dr Chau Chak Wing building, his only in Australia, were unveiled this week at the University of Technology, Sydney.
UTS has been working with Gehry Partners to design a world-class business school based on the idea of a tree-house structure. As Frank Gehry has put it, "a trunk and core of activity and... branches for people to connect and do their private work."
East façade, view across Ultimo Pedestrian Network, model scale: 1-to-100
The building will have two distinct external facades, one composed of undulating brick, referencing the sandstone and the dignity of Sydney’s urban brick heritage, and the other of large, angled sheets of glass to fracture and mirror the image of surrounding buildings.
Section view of west elevation, model scale: 1-to-50
The project inspired the Australian-Chinese business leader Dr Chau Chak Wing to donate a total of $25 million to UTS; $20 million to support the new building and an additional $5 million to create an endowment fund for Australia-China student scholarships. It is the equal largest ever philanthropic gift by an individual for a university in Australia.
UTS Vice-Chancellor Professor Ross Milbourne said that while the building would undoubtedly become a Sydney landmark, the key element for the University was that it was conceived from the inside out with the needs of the UTS Business School and the University at heart.
"The UTS Business School is transforming itself with an emphasis on integrative thinking — producing students with boundary crossing skills as well as specialised knowledge," Professor Milbourne said.
"From the start Gehry Partners has worked closely with the school's leadership, its academics and students to develop an environment that fosters and encourages this openness and collaboration in teaching and research, and engagement with business and the community.
"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.
"The project is already providing benefits for students outside the Business School, with four UTS architecture students selected for internships at Gehry Partners' studios in Los Angeles."
West elevation, model scale: 1-to-100
The 11-storey Dr Chau Chak Wing building will stand at the corner of Ultimo Road and Omnibus Lane on a site that once housed the Dairy Farmers Cooperative and is currently being used as a car park.
Professor Milbourne said some elements of the schematic design were still fluid and will be subject to some modification, pending community consultation and authority approval. Community and stakeholder consultation will take place from 17 December to 14 January.
Construction is due to start in early 2012 and be complete in time for the 2014 academic year.
The Dr Chau Chak Wing Building is part of the ten-year $1 billion UTS City Campus Masterplan, which is helping transform the southern CBD and will deliver a cutting-edge and connected campus for staff, students and the broader community.