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The Starchitect of Oz: New Gehry building in Sydney celebrates topping out

Sustainabile facility combines a complex façade with a trunk-and-branches organizational plan.

January 17, 2014 |
The Dr Chau Chak Wing Building is Frank Gehry's first project in Sydney. All ima

The Dr Chau Chak Wing Building at the University of Technology, Sydney, will mark Frank Gehry's debut project in the Australian metro. The 12-story, $150 million project will serve the university's Business School and is being built by Lend Lease.

Gehry says the design, which is a bit reminiscent of his Stata Center at MIT, was inspired the trunk-and-branches arrangement of a tree. The main structure has been completed and work has begun on the façade--as usual with Gehry, a complex proposition. About 320,000 bricks will be hand-laid to achieve a crinkled effect, guided by extensive BIM analysis. The UTS civil engineering labs collaborated with Chinese partners to create and test prototypes for the brick work. The building's west side will feature huge panes of reflective glass.

As with many new Australian facilites, this one incorporates a green focus. High-performance glazing will combine with energy- and water-efficient engineering, including a 20,000-L rainwater tank. The building is aiming for 5 Star status in the Green Star sustainability certification program.

Part of a 10-year master plan for the campus, the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building is scheduled to be completed this year. 

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