UTS Tower
The University of Technology Sydney has entered an interesting phase as it nears its 29th birthday, with a number of renovations taking...
UTS Tower
The University of Technology Sydney has entered an interesting phase as it nears its 29th birthday, with a number of renovations taking...
UTS Tower
The University of Technology Sydney has entered an interesting phase as it nears its 29th birthday, with a number of renovations taking...
UTS Tower
The University of Technology Sydney has entered an interesting phase as it nears its 29th birthday, with a number of renovations taking...
UTS Tower
The University of Technology Sydney has entered an interesting phase as it nears its 29th birthday, with a number of renovations taking...
UTS Tower
The University of Technology Sydney has entered an interesting phase as it nears its 29th birthday, with a number of renovations taking...
UTS Tower
The University of Technology Sydney has entered an interesting phase as it nears its 29th birthday, with a number of renovations taking...
UTS Tower
The University of Technology Sydney has entered an interesting phase as it nears its 29th birthday, with a number of renovations taking...

Overview

Lighting Up the Future of UTS

The University of Technology Sydney has entered an interesting phase as it nears its 29th birthday, with a number of renovations taking place within its iconic brutalist Tower. Gardner Wetherill Associates were assigned the challenge of taming the ‘brutal’ in ‘brutalism’.

As an institution, the University of Technology of Sydney has only been its current iteration since 1988, having previously existed as the Sydney Mechanic’s School of Art. Its iconic brutalist tower has been loudly criticised by architecture critics and architects alike, including Frank Gehry who has recently undertaken a project on UTS’s behalf, as a monumental eyesore due to its trademark brutalist aesthetic. At 23 storeys, the UTS Tower is strikingly conspicuous in Sydney’s skyline.

For those who call UTS their temporary home, rumour has it that the tower’s cold exterior is matched by an interior originally designed to discourage student gatherings in order to restrict student protests, as the tower was devised in the wake of the 1968 Paris student riots. Recent changes in education design, then, have left the UTS tower behind the times, as academics, researchers and students alike seek facilities that encourage open conversation and collaboration. Mindful of this, UTS enlisted Gardner Wetherill Associates to oversee a complete refurbishment of levels 20 and 21 of the tower with an eye towards the future of the institution, with Jones Nicholson overseeing electrical engineering.

Seeking to contrast the ever-present concrete without obscuring it, Gardner Wetherill adopted a heavy use of natural finishes, cosy carpet, and subtle lighting to add a warmer character to both floors. On the 20th floor, the natural toned timbers add a note of refinement, with the 21st floor adopting a slightly more rustic character. Both floors are also peppered with the environmentally friendly TRILUX Ambiella and Amatris LED lights, adding to the warmth of the fit out.

Above, a clever combination of Light Culture’s Sideways Sally 20 and Energyline 75 lighting beams are recessed into the ceiling, creating clear lighting that is practical and energy efficient, as well as giving the ceilings an elegant aesthetic. The advantage of using these lighting strips is “a very wide and uniform distribution of the light for an evenly lit and bright space.”

With one of the core design objectives for the project being to ‘provide a workspace that is bright, open, transparent and dynamic’, Gardner Wetherill is emphatic that, “Lighting has to complement the area it is installed, whether it is fading in the background, being subtle or being a feature piece.”

“Education from a design perspective means providing both incidental and flexible architecture that supports and encourages a culture of intensive research and knowledge transfer,” says project architect Marc Oberhauser who was tasked with helming the project, “The architecture needs to support multiple uses of space and to, as much as possible, be future proof to accommodate changing teaching pedagogies. Spaces and forms must be readily changeable to enable personalised environments for individuals and smaller or larger groups alike.”

Beginning at the central core of both floors, the Gardner Wetherill team started by gathering rooms to the center and placing open plan spaces around the perimeter. For Gardner Wetherill, the biggest challenge was, “converting the tower structure and its brutalism with lots of exposed concrete into a welcoming, contemporary, prestigious, flexible and innovative environment in an open plan format.” “Inside [the tower] there is a lot of beautiful exposed concrete, and this was something that we needed to maintain,” continues Oberhauser, “What [UTS] wanted to achieve was a sense of uniformity throughout the levels. They needed to still differ and accommodate different usages too.”

 

Project Detail

Architect
Gardner Wetherill

Builder / Project Manager
University of Technology Sydney

Engineer
Jones Nicholson

Location
University of Technology Sydney

Photography
Andrew Worssam Photography

Featured Products

Products Specified in this Project

Trilux Amatris G2

Amatris G2

Trilux Ambiella G2

Ambiella G2

Light Culture Sideways Sally 20

Sideways Sally 20

Energyline Energyline 75

Energyline 75

More Featured Projects

UTS Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building

UTS Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building

Central Station Grand Concourse

Central Station Grand Concourse

The Calyx

The Calyx

AstraZeneca Australia

AstraZeneca Australia

Bondi Park

Bondi Park

Ferrari Maserati Sydney

Ferrari Maserati Sydney

Sydney Olympic Park Train Station

Sydney Olympic Park Train Station

Gargangula

Gargangula "Nike" Sculpture

Anzac Memorial - Hyde Park

Anzac Memorial - Hyde Park

Avoca House

Avoca House

Host Building

Host Building

Village Roadshow

Village Roadshow

Ulumbarra Theatre in Bendigo by Buckford Illumination Group, VIC

Ulumbarra Theatre in Bendigo by Buckford Illumination Group, VIC

UTS Tower

UTS Tower

Barooga Sports Bar

Barooga Sports Bar

White Bay Cruise Terminal

White Bay Cruise Terminal

Tramsheds Harold Park

Tramsheds Harold Park

Cheltenham Station

Cheltenham Station

Griffith University Multi-Level Carpark by Raylinc Lighting, QLD

Griffith University Multi-Level Carpark by Raylinc Lighting, QLD

Laithwaites Wines

Laithwaites Wines

8 Chifley

8 Chifley

Matisse Beach Club

Matisse Beach Club

Arena Calcetto

Arena Calcetto

Saturday indesign 2011

Saturday indesign 2011 "Pop Culture"

Sydney Olympic Park Train Station

Sydney Olympic Park Train Station

Search

Window Title

Login

Enter your email address and password to load your briefcase.

Don't have an account?

You must have an account to use the briefcase facility.

New users - register here.

Create an account

Create an account so you can save your project briefcase and come back to it later.

My Briefcase

Below are the products and projects you have saved to this project briefcase.

Project Name

Products

Projects

Talk to us

Want to talk to one of our lighting designers?
Request a call below to discuss your project briefcase.

Request Call

Request a call

Want to speak to one of our lighting designers about your project?

Request a call below to discuss your project briefcase.

Request Call

Thank you!

One of our lighting designers will be in touch with you.

Okay

Add to my briefcase

Item Preview