Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Architectus

 

Sydney University’s new Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) aims to express the transformation of Australia’s oldest university campus through a restrained and timeless expression of connection, collaboration, community, art and heritage. Comprising a new teaching facility and extensive refurbishment of the heritage RD Watt Building, Architectus’ design responds to the University’s “Wingara Mura” Strategy, expressing an understanding of the former landscape, broader campus context and strong cultural connections. Correlating these elements and traditional owners is a public artwork deeply etched in the granite façade by Aboriginal artist Robert Andrew, entitled: “GARABARA”. Garabara, or corroboree is an Aboriginal ceremony or gathering, to tell stories, passing on knowledge; an important aspect of indigenous culture. Internally, the new teaching building is designed to foster social sustainability through collaboration and a sense of community between students and academics. A large central atrium and feature staircase connects the lower teaching and learning levels, with upper level academic and professional workspaces, enhancing social interactions. Working in unison to contrast the old and new, a sophisticated curtain wall with dynamic bronze-coloured optical effect defines the new facility and is a contemporary reference to campus stone and masonry materiality. An innovative interstitial fabric mesh is laminated into the glass, responding to light in a variable way, the low-maintenance, highly insulated facade, is a first in Australia. Underlying design principles for FASS are: integration of landscape and heritage context, environmental and social sustainability; combining learning and academic environments, and a contemporary identity of faculty and broader campus.

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