lacoste-stevenson wins with design for new UTS gateway podium
The landmark University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Tower building is the public face of the university and houses its primary ceremonial spaces. The tower is imposing, at 30 storeys and designed in the Brutalist style, it appears heavy and secretive, creating an image for the university that is counter to it’s aspirations as innovative, visionary and proud of it’s open connections to industry. The existing podium of the tower is setback from the street 30 metres. It is a space without function and is made unattractive and inhospitable due to the conditions of the busy street-front.
The new Podium building inhabits this forecourt, providing a new main entrance to the University and a space that is protected from the noise and pollution of Broadway. Together with Jean Nouvel’s residential tower and Norman Foster’s commercial buildings across the road and DCM’s Engineering and IT Faculty Building next door, the Podium building will create an outstanding precinct along this section of Broadway. It will give UTS the opportunity to reinvent its presence in Sydney and beyond. In contrast to the Tower, the new Podium is light, open and welcoming; an undulating semi-transparent building that wraps the base of the tower.
The façade is constructed from curved and fritted glass. It will appear soft and pliable like a curtain; it’s smooth surface blowing inward dramatically to mark the main entrance. The transparency of the façade will reveal exhibition and public spaces inside the entrance on the ground floor. A book shop on the corner of Jones Street and cinema entrance and café to the east will provide activity along the entire street frontage. Large-scale structural, lace steel columns contribute to the lightness of the building. Their hollow centres allow visual connections between floors, natural ventilation and the light to penetrate deep inside the building.