Location: Broadway, Ultimo, Sydney, Australia
Project Team: Adam Russell, John de Manincor, Fransisco Layson, Raffaello Rosselli, Nick Sargent, Chris Steinbach, Leisa Tough, Lorraine Yip, Zana Wright
Collaborators: Kann Finch Group (Collaborating Architects)
Client: University of Technology, Sydney
Project Year: 2011
From the architect. The rebirth of the Great Hall at the University of Technology Sydney , designed by Sydney architects DRAW , is now complete. Located within the podium of a much-maligned Brutalist tower in Sydney, the project capitalises on technological advances in materials and fabrication. The design has dramatically transformed the most important ceremonial space on campus from a lifeless volume into a warm heart that celebrates the University’s commitment to design innovation.
The signature element of the new work is “The Mantle” a fluid skin of perforated aluminum comprised of more than 1000 unique facets. The Mantle lines the ceiling and walls integrating lighting, audio-visual, fire and mechanical services into a dynamic whole, that breathes new life into the space.
Principal of DRAW, John de Manincor, says “The character of the Brutalist building in which we’ve worked is very much defined by the leading technologies of that era… repetitive, mass-produced pre-cast concrete set-out using Cartesian geometry. In a similar spirit we've used recent developments in file-to-factory technologies that have allowed us to explore ‘mass-customization’ to create a fluid, dynamic character as a counterpoint to the existing structure.”
New roof lanterns allow natural light to filter into the Hall, connecting it with the outside. At one end of the space sits a large (17m x 5m) LED media wall - a 21st century interpretation of stained glass windows that animates the interior with light and color.
Beyond the initial brief DRAW proposed “The Balcony Room”, a soaring reception space annexed to the Hall that capitalises on a commanding view across the future Alumni Green. The Balcony Room exploits a previously unused terrace, enclosing it to provide a link between the main building foyer and the rich warm interior of the Hall. “The Hall, where many students celebrate their graduation, is such an important place in University life …” says Adam Russell, Principal of DRAW “… with the Balcony Room we’ve strengthened the identity of the Hall providing a new address across the broader campus.”
The Great Hall and Balcony Room are part of the Universities’ multi-million dollar Master Plan that also includes buildings designed by Ghery and Partners, Lacoste & Stevenson, PTW, Denton Corker Marshall and Durbach Block Jaggers. The first graduations in the Great Hall will occur in May 2012.