It's playtime down under as Lacoste + Stevenson design curvaceous entry for UTS
In March, Lacoste + Stevenson claimed first prize in a design competition for a new ‘front door’ to the University of Technology, Sydney. Spread over 2,530 sq m, the elongated sweeping glass structure contrasts dramatically with the bold and imposing architecture of the Tower rising above. Designs for the new activated university entrance propose a light, transparent and playful space, welcoming students from the fast-paced Broadway.
Responding directly to the competition brief, the design creates an array of active street spaces in the undulations in the Broadway-facing façade. Supplying the UTS with a substantial physical presence, the glass volume gives the impression of a transparent curtain swaying gently in the breeze. A delicate 3-storey sweeping motion indicates the entrance to the building, as the drape folds back into the body of the structure.
In comparison to the surrounding urban fabric, the new Podium sits lower on the skyline, overlooked by its neighbours. Lacoste + Stevenson have taken this element into account in their design, incorporating a Green Roof into their proposal. This 5th elevation features a lace pattern which reflects the lace form of the structure in earth sods, covering 80% of the roof and providing highly effective insulation for the building.
In continuation of this, the podium facades have been modified to address the distinct conditions of the surrounding environment. The façade facing Broadway is the undulating glass drapery, sealed to reduce the effects of noise and pollution; those facing north and west become screens that provide appropriate shelter from the intense sunlight onto 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. On the north and west facing sides, the building facades echo the lace-like language of internal structural columns behind the white frit-patterned glass screens.
Internally, the new build provides a 600 seat lecture theatre/cinema space which can be divided in two by a drop-down wall for added flexibility. This is coupled with an Art House cinema and Loft Bar, available for use by both university attendees and the public during large-scale events. The Ground Level foyer remains a largely flexible space, acting as a main street thoroughfare as part of the active pedestrian network whilst providing a backdrop for student union activities, performance art, temporary exhibitions and so on.
Structural design has been based on the need for a series of highly flexible spaces. The proposed steel structure acts as column, light well, ventilation shafts and occasionally as a stair all in one, effectively creating a column free space with a dynamic sculptural effect in this educational facility. In daylight hours, the glass exterior magnifies the elegance of design whilst by night, the façade morphs into a stage for the projection of images via a frit pattern printed onto the surface of the glass.
Lacoste + Stevenson Architects worked in association with Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke and Six Degrees.