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    HDR Rice Daubney and Grimshaw create new entrance for Sydney Uni

    Nathan Johnson

    Two development proposals for the University of Sydney have been put to NSW planning simultaneously, one each from HDR Rice Daubney and Grimshaw architects.

    The projects will be located opposite one another at the entry to one of the gateways to the university’s Camperdown Campus, effectively redefining this arrival point that has remained mostly unchanged since the 1960s.

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    Positioned at a major gateway to the campus the two new buildings (purple and pink) will redefine the entrance from City Road.


    HDR Rice Daubney’s contribution will be an eight-storey science research and teaching facility located on a tapering site, called ‘LEES1’. The site has a minimum throat width of only 11 metres and sits between the existing Carslaw Building, designed by Stafford Moor and Farrington in 1960, and a row of significant fig trees.

    In response to the site conditions, the architects have proposed a wedge-shaped building with a stepped façade that was partially informed by setbacks determined by an arborist investigation of the fig trees in the forecourt and also the SEARS development envelope. It has a simple palette of terracotta, off-form concrete and clear glazing that are laid out in horizontal mass and vertical proportions to match the existing buildings on the campus.

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    The project will effectively hide the street-facing façade of the existing Carslaw Building and create a totally new look for the campus entrance from City Road.

    Grimshaw’s contribution has a more usual geometry and has made conscious efforts to be respectful of its adjacent building. Their proposal is for a five-storey administration building with exhibition and symposium space and a basement car park, to be located next to the university’s revered Madsen Building, a neo-gothic style building constructed in the 1940s.

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    The F23 Administration Building has a common palette of materials and urban responses to HDR Rice Daubney’s LEES1 but will be massed and aligned to articulate from certain elements of the neighbouring Masden Building.

    Grimshaw have aligned the new building’s footprint with the protruding entry and dominant face of the Madsen building and articulated floorplates and glazing lines with the different thresholds points of Masden’s façade.

    F23 will have five levels of office space that will circulate around a central atrium, to be filled with natural light courtesy of a large skylight.

    Oculus landscape architects have prepared the landscape and urban design plans which will provide the integral link between the two buildings, the street and the existing campus. 

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