ASPECT Studios: The UTS Alumni Green is the most significant open space at the City Campus of the University of Technology, Sydney. UTS is known for its 1960’s ‘Brutalist’ tower which has been a centrepiece for the city campus, where the choice and opportunities for learning and socialising in a landscape setting have been limited. The new Alumni Green offers a unique opportunity to socialise, learn and enjoy campus life. The design creates a multitude of opportunities to bring people together by providing the social infrastructure to create places for people.
ASPECT Studios won a single stage open design competition in July 2012 for the UTS new Alumni Green. Following the competition, ASPECT Studios was engaged by the university to develop and document the competition scheme. The new Alumni Green finished in line with the construction of the new Science and Graduate School of Health Building as well as the Library Retrieval System (LRS). The Alumni Green is the binding design element for all three projects, and the design has set the framework for subsequent projects to develop around its interfaces.
The competition brief for the UTS Alumni Green identified this space as an important opportunity to create a ‘sticky campus’, a significant and recurring principle in the UTS Campus Master Plan.The planning process for the Alumni Green has been guided by a strong, conceptual design diagram that has informed every decision throughout the planning and design process. Calling on the Campus Master Plan’s ambition for a ‘sticky campus’, ASPECT Studios developed a parti diagram that established a place with 3 parts; The Green, The Heart and The Garden. The location of each part was derived from considerations of; orientation and access to light, circulation patterns, intended uses, and interfacing building programs.
• ‘The Green’ is a large, raised turf platform that can be used for both special events and informal daily activities. The sculptural edges of the green are also informal seating areas.
• ‘The Heart’ is a ceremonial gathering space for students and visitors.
• ‘The Garden’ is an oasis of trees and plants shading a series of connected student ‘pods’. Each pod contains facilities ranging from tables, moveable chairs, power outlets for laptops, BBQ facilities and Ping Pong tables. The changing scales of the spaces create many opportunities for day and night time use; for individuals and groups, for ceremonial and celebratory events. The spaces have been specifically designed to cater for a range of uses, including information days and orientation events, concerts, moonlight cinema, garden parties, barbecues and other union events and programmed uses. The desire for a ‘sticky campus’ informed a strong concept of multi-use elements which prioritises human comfort by creating seating and gathering places on every edge.
The Alumni Green is built on top of the UTS central library. The new public heart of the University is a showcase for the benefits of green infrastructure, urban greenery and ongoing place making. The University is curating a free overlay of chairs and furniture to create comfort and a high quality environment which promotes social life and uplifts the everyday student experience. Further to the Alumni Green, ASPECT Studios was engaged by UTS to create an extensive green roof on top the new DBJ / BVN science building: which provides positive environmental benefits to the building as well as another opportunity for break out and social engagement.
Project Title: UTS Alumni Green
Location: UTS City Campus, Ultimo, Sydney, NSW, 2007, Australia
Client: University of Technology, Sydney
Lead Designer and Landscape Architect: ASPECT Studios
ASPECT Studios (Project Lead and Landscape Architect)
Taylor Thomson Whitting (Structural Engineering)
Warren Smith + Partners (Hydraulic)
Steensen Varming (Lighting & Electrical)
Durbach Block Jaggers + BVN Donovan Hill (Architects for the Science and Graduate School of Health Building [Building 7])
Hassell (Architects for the Library Retrieval System)
Savills Project Management (Construction Project Manager)
Richard Crookes Constructions (Contractor)
Photography: Simon Wood, Florian Groehn
Area size: 6,500 sqm
Budget: $5 million AUD