UTS have recently unveiled a major adaptive refit proposal by DRAW for their largest and most important ceremonial space, the Great Hall. DRAW’s proposal for the spaces provides UTS with a new ceremonial heart, fundamentally transforming the existing mute Great Hall interior into a cathedral-like space, enveloped by a perforated metal skin that incorporates leading-edge audio/visual technology. More images and complete architect’s description after the break.
The adaptive refit proposal consists of two key design elements:, The ‘Balcony Room’ and ‘The Mantle’ . Together these moves provide the University with highly functional and uniquely iconic public space. Where the existing UTS Tower and Podium are defined by the mass production of repetitive elements the new work by DRAW celebrates technological advances which allow mass customisation and the richness of experience that comes with these advances.
Balcony Room The ‘Balcony Room’ establishes a new, formal arrival sequence for the Great Hall that offers an unexpected and powerful visual connection between The Great Hall and Alumni Green below. This grand, double-height space establishes a presence for the Great Hall within the student domain. The arrival procession from Broadway is formalised by the addition of this generous new reception space.
The ‘Balcony Room’ compliments the Great Hall with a much needed ante-room and break-out area. As a lofty, double- height volume the Balcony Room provides transition space between the regimented interior of the towers public spaces and the ceremonious events that occur within the Great Hall. A commanding view of the broader campus and Alumni Green is offered from this new meeting and arrival point located in the heart of the campus. Patrons to university events would use the space for conference registration, mingling or pre-dinner drinks prior to entry into the rich interior of the Great Hall itself.
The Mantle ‘The Mantle’ – is a warm fluid skin of perforated metal that wraps the existing cold concrete interior transforming the oppressive qualities of the existing space. Advanced media, lighting, acoustic, and air tempering technology are all integrated within the new, continuous fabric. The Mantle will provide a new contemporary identity for the Great Hall as the primary ceremonial space of UTS, celebrating its core values as a vibrant contemporary institution. As a dynamic and operable element, The Mantle provides a foil to the static, Cartesian geometry that dominates the public spaces of the tower.
By wrapping the side walls and ceiling in a continuous articulated surface, the scale and proportion of the Great Hall is radically shifted from; non-directional and squat, to processional and lofty, a space akin to a Gothic Cathedral. The shimmering, warm-metallic surface of vertical proportions fundamentally changes the Great Hall experience from drab to dynamic.
The primary articulation of the Mantle is based on a repeat cellular geometry, making an evolutionary reference to the inherent structural system of Building One itself. Conceptually, the Great Hall is enveloped by a complex cellular structure that expands to fill its volume. The complex cellular structure permits a non-hierarchical organizational system that allows the interior to have a primary axis without a specific ‘front’ or ‘rear’. The new cellular geometry of The Mantle establishes an abstract dialogue with the Cartesian geometry of the existing Tower lobby.
The Mantle combines natural light, drawn through the coffers above, with a sophisticated low energy lighting system to provide a series of active and tunable ‘atmospheres’. The perforated metal surface of The Mantle will allow audio, AV equipment and acoustic dampening to be appropriately located, tuned and upgraded without impacting on the aesthetic and spatial qualities of the Hall. Air movement equipment is also concealed behind the surface of The Mantle, utilising existing concrete ducts at low and high levels.
The apparently complex panel system can be achieved via file-to-factory systems where each panel can be unique in shape and size. Thus The Mantle embodies The University’s commitment to new design and fabrication technologies as evidenced in research within the schools of architecture, design, IT and engineering.