University of Sydney's new law faculty reflects contemporary social values and aspirations
The new Law School transforms the public domain of the heart of the University. It reinterprets the architectural dialectic between city and campus: to extend the public domain and create a new opening of the university to the community, parkland and city beyond, with the study of law balanced carefully at this edge; to transform a great turn-of-the-century campus, damaged by post war development, into a more open, welcoming environment reflecting contemporary social values and aspirations.
An inventive aspect was the division of the extensive building brief into podium and superstructures to create an extended new public ground-plane. Below the domain are specialist teaching facilities and library lit through the environmental and emblematic ‘light-tower’. Suspended above are a series of innovative multi-layered glass and timber louvered superstructures accommodating the remaining brief into fragments defining and framing new public spaces.
Library, teaching and workplace typologies are developed into a series of identifiable and interrelated forms with an emphasis on layered transparency, equity of access, openness, sustainability and collaboration.
The project has also developed from a focus upon the process of learning – combining thestructured and unstructured, the formal and informal, the expected and unexpected, and the physical with the virtual – all within an uplifting environment characterised by fresh air, comfort and natural light that seeks to both enable and inspire students.
Emphasis is placed on informal teaching and collaboration spaces such as the ‘social-hub’ bridges that form an urban window framing the new campus entry.
Sustainability is infused throughout from siting and urban initiatives reclaiming public space from car-parking, reconnect the campus to Victoria Park and harvest and reuse rainwater, through building-wide energy-efficient infrastructures and services, passive thermal control, natural light, ventilated triple-skin facade and environmentally sustainable material selection.