A glass act: why the UTS Central façade will be a showstopper
- UTS brings glazing glamour to Sydney
- Conquering the challenges of glass
- Façade facts and figures
When it comes to landmark glass buildings, London has its edgy Shard, Paris the Louvre Pyramid and Dubai a striking boat-shaped opera house. In little more than a year, Sydney too will have its own ‘heart of glass’ in the shape of UTS Central (Building 2).
As those who have been following the story of its transformation will know, one of UTS Central's most distinctive features will be its glass-encased façade. With installation of the glazed panels now underway on the podium (lower) levels, the time is right to take an in-depth look at what goes into creating and installing such a gleaming façade.
Why go for glass?
Apart from the futuristic feel that glass lends to the design, the UTS Central façade brings a striking sense of openness and transparency to the centre of campus. The Alumni Green façade will facilitate views within and beyond the building, while allowing an abundance of natural light into the new UTS Library and cavernous Reading Room, with its triple-height atrium.
According to Richard Francis-Jones of architects FJMT, the building’s “veil-like delicacy will also serve as a juxtaposition to the existing Brutalist form” of the UTS Tower next door.
Large sections of glass, however, come with challenges – especially in terms of how the façade handles Australia’s climate.
The podium and tower façades present quite different challenges, according to the project team. At podium level, the biggest test has been managing the weight of two glass façade sections that will be hung from level 8, with just lateral supports to hold them in place. Meanwhile, the challenges of the remaining façade elements lie in the uniqueness of the façade, particularly the bespoke curvature and immense size of some glass panels.
“Particular elements are also being used in conjunction for the first time,” explains Senior Project Manager Dane Sinclair. “As a result, the façade has had to undergo rigorous testing to meet Australian Standards.”
While performance testing the triple layer façade for factors such as structural adequacy, air infiltration and water penetration has been carried out close to home – by the CSIRO at North Ryde – other tests are drawing on international expertise. Hotbox testing of the building’s blinds is being undertaken in the Netherlands, while specialists in the USA are assessing the thermal performance of the façade.
Over coming weeks, the managing contractors Richard Crookes Constructions will progress the installation of the façade and it will become visible from higher spots around the Broadway precinct so if you are in Buildings 1, 7, 10 or 11, keep an eye out!
Façade facts and figures*
|No of glass pieces||3600|
|Different types of glass||48|
|Largest piece of glass||6.0m (h) x 2.3m (w)|
|Heaviest piece of glass||700kg|
|No of fabricated façade panels||1450|
|Different façade panel sizes||15|
*Figures above approximate only
Did you know?
International engineering company Permasteelisa Group, which is completing the Building 2 tower façade, produced the titanium cladding on the Guggenheim in Bilbao and the glass ‘Curtain Wall’ inside the Sydney Opera House sails. Australia’s G. James Glass & Aluminium is responsible for the podium façade. Their past projects include the Governor Macquarie Tower and Chifley Tower in Sydney.
The inside story
While the façade may be stealing most of the limelight at the moment, UTS Central's interiors continue to evolve. Watch this space for more details soon on some of the big interior spaces, including the Reading Room and new food and beverage spaces off Alumni Green that will cater to the diverse tastes of today's students.
For enquiries, please contact email@example.com.