A milestone moment for UTS’s newest building was celebrated 17 floors up, when the university’s senior executives joined UTS Central’s project team, builders and architects to celebrate the building reaching its full height.
Known as ‘topping out’, the milestone is routinely celebrated when the top floor of a construction project is completed and is adorned with a tree – an ancient Scandinavian custom devised to placate any tree-dwelling spirits who lose their homes to the new construction. However, the UTS Central ceremony introduced a touch of showbiz glamour, with a crane lifting the tree – a Fraxinus raywoodi (Claret Ash) – into place on the rooftop during the celebratory speeches.
In true showbiz style, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Resources) Patrick Woods didn’t miss a beat as he regaled the crowd with some startling statistics from the 75 weeks of construction so far. The level 5 slab alone required 93 concrete trucks and nine hours to pour, he explained, while the glazed façade consists of a staggering 3600 glass pieces.
He also spoke – as did construction company boss Richard Crookes – of the successful collaborative working relationship between UTS and the builders that has enabled UTS Central to meet its timelines in spite of some challenges.
Architect Richard Francis-Jones, meanwhile, said the building had provided an opportunity to achieve the extraordinary – something that’s hard to disagree with when you see the building taking shape.
With its glittering, glass-shrouded façade, there’s no doubt that UTS Central will be the jewel in UTS’s crown on Broadway when it is completed. Providing a student hub at the heart of campus – housing the UTS Library, adjoining scholarly Reading Room, a food court and learning commons – the building will also accommodate the Faculty of Law, Faculty of Engineering and IT research spaces, and a Science super lab. It will also feature world-leading, large-capacity (350-seat) collaborative classrooms and plenty of break-out spaces for students.
The upper floors – and especially a terrace on level 8 – will offer spectacular views across a campus that has been transformed under the decade-long Campus Master Plan.
A fitting final project for the Master Plan, UTS Central may have finished its upwards phase, but work continues onwards to the next major milestone – practical completion in mid-2019, when the first internal spaces become operational and the doors open to welcome us in.