Yesterday’s Sydney Futures Forum session, “Ultimo Futures”, brought to light a great deal of information, which Penultimo will impart in appropriately sized chunks over the coming days.
We’d like to tell you a little more about the much anticipated “Gehry Building”.
It will be called the Dr Chau Chak Wing, after Chinese business leader, Dr Chau Chak, who donated $25 million to UTS for this building (or more precisely, $20 mill for the building, and $5 million to for student scholarships). The building will be for the UTS Faculty of Business. (Hm. Why couldn’t it be something creative and a bit edgy?)
Dr Chau Chak and Frank Gehry, image source
It makes sense to name this building after Dr Chau Chak — UNSW’s College of Fine Arts could learn a lot from UTS about naming. It’s important to note that after such a generous donation, UTS is not renaming its Faculty of Business or any of its associated Schools after Dr Chau Chak - no, he gets the building. We think this seems to make sense, unlike some other recent decisions stemming from generous philanthropy at Australian universities.
So what will this building look like, what will it do for Ultimo?
Gehry said in June, “Our intent is to be a good neighbour, to design a building that fits into the neighbourhood, but doesn’t copy the neighbourhood.” (video source) At the forum yesterday, UTS was only able to provide one image of the proposed project - as it’s all strictly under wraps until Gehry comes to Sydney in mid-December. In relation to the lack of architectural visualisations available, Gehry has commented, “I don’t want people to fall in love with a premature sketch that ignores how much it may cost.” (source)
At yesterday’s forum the single image of the Gehry building was up for only a few seconds, and we couldn’t get to our iPhone (camera) to snap it in time. So we’ll have to describe it for you. It looked … horizontal in focus, stacked, layered - not the loopy, curvy stuff that is now seen as trademark Gehry.
We think it’s a good thing that we won’t have “just another Bilbao Guggenheim or Disney Center” - better to have a well designed, thoughtful building that is appropriate for its site and its function, rather than a shiny Gehry blimp, just floating in mute space.
The full design will be unveiled on December 14 or 15 this year.
The site location is Building 14 on this UTS diagram detailing the UTS City Campus Master Plan. A lot of the development won’t be complete until late 2013 or early 2014. The new “gateway” building along Broadway is being commenced a little later, and may not be complete until 2015 (ish?).
For a little more information, here are some articles:
- Cute video about the issue on Vimeo from Business21C:
“Frank, do you like the site?”
“I like the problem.”