Lacoste + Stevenson wins UTS Podium Competition

Courtesy of Lacoste + Stevenson

Australian architects Lacoste + Stevenson (in association with DJRD and 6degrees) shared with us their project oUTStanding, for which they won first prize in the UTS Podium Competition in Sydney.

You can see more images, a video and architect’s description after the break.

The Building 1 and Building 2 Podium Extension creates a unique opportunity for UTS to re-image the entry to its most prominent landmark and in doing so re-image the university itself. Our proposed Podium Extension creates an activated university entrance that is light, transparent, open and welcoming. The curvaceous facade is both playful and contemporary, a foil to the Brutalist architecture of the Tower above. The architecture both showcases the activity within and performs as a platform for the display of new media presentations. The planning allows the building to cater for both the large event and small specialised presentations with open floor-plates ensuring maximum flexibility of use and the continuous activation of space.

Courtesy of Lacoste + Stevenson

The new Podium Extension promotes UTS as a dynamic place of research and creativity. This building is both a showcase and a space for active collaboration between the University and Industry on both a local and global level and will in turn attract the most innovative industry leaders and the highest calibre of students to participate in the University.

UTS is an urban campus that is embedded in the life of the city. The entry to such a campus must embrace its relationship to the city whilst promoting the values and creativity of the university. The new UTS Podium building marks the entrance not only to the landmark UTS Tower but becomes a celebrated front door to the campus itself, leading directly into the ceremonial heart of the university; the foyer of Building 1 and through to the Alumni Green. Programmed with activities to promote interaction between the university, industry and the broader community, the new Podium Building will become an important creative hub for the city.

Courtesy of Lacoste + Stevenson

Campus Entry Our proposed extension of Buildings 1 and 2 gives UTS a substantial physical presence as a piece of the city at the larger scale and a strong identity on Broadway in particular. The glass volume along Broadway is like a curtain that moves back and forth in response to activities within. It establishes a formal entrance to UTS which has a scale and significance that befits its role. The elegant, 3-storey sweep of the glass curtain back into the body of the building creates a welcoming and clear point of entry to the campus. The glass façade is transparent at street level to reveal the activity and occupation within. It is protects these uses against the noise and pollution of Broadway.

Courtesy of Lacoste + Stevenson

The principal entrance is on the central axis of the Building 1 foyer and reinforces the seamless integration of the extension to the existing building. Other entrances along Broadway are to the experimental cinema adjacent to the entrance to the Loft bar to the east, the Coop Bookshop to the west takes a third of the Broadway frontage, and a café sits at the corner of Broadway and Jones Street.

In contrast to the Brutalist architecture of the Tower, the new podium intervenes as an undulating semi-transparent building wrapping the podium of Buildings 1 and 2. It appears soft and almost pliable like a curtain; its smooth surface blowing inward dramatically to mark the entrance. The entrance draws in the life of the city.

Urban Context This new Podium building will be part of a dynamic new architectural precinct including the Fraser’s Broadway buildings and the new UTS Engineering and IT Building, which will act in combination to form the Western Gateway to the Sydney CBD. The Podium will be a part of this collection of modern architecture; however it will stand out with its curving, flowing façade; by day a crystalline white volume and especially at night with images projected around the entry, showcasing experimental cinema, university and Industry events and other art forms that are on at the Podium.

Courtesy of Lacoste + Stevenson

This new Gateway architectural precinct contains a number of tall buildings, which will be looking down onto the roof of the UTS Podium. For this reason, our project has considered the roof as a 5th elevation of the building. It will be a Green Roof composed in a lace pattern that continues the lace form of the structure in the earth sods. These will cover around 80% of the roof and provide excellent insulation as well as providing an attractive view from surrounding tall buildings. It also links to the green space of the adjacent Alumni Green.

Podium Treatment The podium facades each have quite distinct conditions to address from the aggressive environment of Broadway to the calm and sun-filled Alumni Green. Our proposal for the Broadway façade is a transparent and undulating glass curtain that is sealed to deal with noise and pollution. The glass has a frit pattern applied above the awning level. As the façade turns the corner into Jones Street, it does so with a flourish that marks the corner and then stands off the facades to the west and the north to become a screen that provides appropriate sun screening to reduce solar gain of the glazed facades behind. Conceptually, the structure of the Broadway façade continues on all sides of the podium but the cladding changes to suit the functions of the building behind that includes the library, retail, café, verandah, the outdoor room and garden. The building facades to the north and west behind the white frit-patterned glass screens echo the lace-like language of the structural columns of the new podium extension.

Courtesy of Lacoste + Stevenson

The new UTS podium building’s material distinctness from the Tower softens the university edge in contrast to the concrete Brutalist architecture of the University’s landmark tower. It is light, transparent and open in direct contrast to the Tower’s enclosed teaching and administrative levels. It may be that the Tower will one day also be transformed and would complete the reinvention of UTS’s most prominent skyline landmark complementing the Podium Building and main entrance.

Courtesy of Lacoste + Stevenson

The scale and grandeur of the Tower Building foyer is carried through into the new extension of the podium building yet the materiality of the addition is strikingly contrasted. The transparency of the new entrance allows light to penetrate into the heart of Building 1. The glazed façade provides protection from the aggressive environment of Broadway. The undulating form creates new public spaces along the street edge but protected from the elements. The new main entrance is generous and welcomes all to visit exhibitions, screens and public lectures. The transparency of the new building makes it an elegant and welcoming addition to UTS as the new main entrance.

You can see the complete sketchbook of the project here.

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About this author
Cite: Sebastian Jordana. "Lacoste + Stevenson wins UTS Podium Competition" 13 Jul 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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