A new building at University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) has everyone talking. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Frank Gehry, the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building is part of the university’s $1.2 billion City Campus Master Plan to enhance student learning through collaborative thinking among students and staff.
The $180 million project provides a new home for the UTS Business School which was divided across two campuses. The building was named after successful Australian Chinese businessman and philanthropist Dr Chau Chak Wing who donated $20 million towards the project and a further $5 million for Australian Chinese scholarships.
While the iconic faÃ§ade of buff-coloured, custom-designed bricks jutting out has been criticised for looking like a squashed brown paper bag, others have praised the architectural brilliance of the design areas that encourages the sharing of ideas among students and staff and inspires learning. The new educational facility provides 35 teaching, learning and research spaces. These include two oval classrooms for a capacity of 60 people which encourage dialogue between students and teachers. In addition a 120 seat lecture theatre with mobile furniture can swiftly convert into a format allowing small-group work and back again.
Lend Lease appointed A.G. Coombs to deliver mechanical and HVAC services for the building, Andrew Robinson, Senior Project Manager, A.G. Coombs said. “The building was designed ‘from the inside out’ and there is a real sense of that,” Andrew said. “It was a challenge to create a high quality high performing and energy efficient HVAC system to fit the unconventional shape and structure without compromising the architectural intent.” “Reticulation throughout the structure of risers, the roof plant and plant room locations were a focus for the team. We worked closely with Lend Lease Design Group and the Lend Lease bid team during the bidding phase, and with AECOM on the detailed design through the construction phase.”
“Clearly the building’s unusual shape provided many spatial challenges,” he said. “3D Revit modelling was used to coordinate the services into structure and ceiling spaces. Throughout the installation phase TrimbleÂ® digital equipment was used to help overcome set out challenges caused by the irregular shape of the building and the lack of easily referenced set out points.”
The team decided on energy an efficient air-cooled chilled water system and a condensing gas boiler plant. Smart air conditioning systems with occupancy sensing switch off when offices are empty for an extended period of time have further reduced energy use, and have contributed to the building’s 5 Star Green Star Design rating from the Green Building Council of Australia. Fantech supplied a number of axial fans the basement mechanical plant room and the exhaust for the car park, loading dock, kitchen, kitchenette/pantry and toilet areas. Other green initiatives include energy efficient glazing on the facade, parking for over 150 bicycles and a 20,000-litre rainwater tank. The building was completed in November 2014 and officially opened by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, Sir Peter Cosgrove, on 2nd February 2015. Classes began at the start of the semester three weeks later. Andrew said the systems have operated well and A.G. Coombs will be closely involved in the building tuning process during the 12 month warranty period and the ongoing service and maintenance of the HVAC systems in the building. .