- Double helix stairway to symbolise breakthrough moments
- Construction targets ‘topping out’ of the podium
- Key construction dates
Building 2 may be rising but, inside, scaffolding is coming down, finally revealing the true scale of the interior spaces – especially on level 4 where an intertwining double helix stairway is set to define the Jones St lobby.
UTS:InProgress spoke to Senior Project Managers Dane Sinclair and Sally Vaughton about the showpiece stairs.
What’s so special about this stairway?
The double helix stair is a first for UTS. It sits in a vast void, with dual landings on opposite sides of levels 4–7, the risers crossing mid-floor (as shown in the image below) and a ribbon spiral design element continuing at the top of the stair. As well as being a grand design feature, the double helix is a reminder of how breakthroughs in science and technology have transformed our world.
Where did the idea come from?
The design originated with the architects, FJMT. It’s actually one of three ‘architectural’ stairways in the building, which will link the main student spaces in the lower floors of the building, inviting movement and connection, and reducing reliance on the lifts and escalators.
What are the challenges with something like this?
It’s such a major piece that it has been essential to thoroughly model and test the stairs in 3D design prior to fabrication. We’ve actually made a prototype section, which is a bit of a dress rehearsal for the design team and will also give us an indication of buildability – as well as logistical and site management considerations for the install.
Where is the stairway being manufactured?
We’re prefabricating off-site in Sydney from Australian steel and curved glass sections. Prefabrication in sections should make the installation easier, especially with our learnings from the prototype, but to get it right it’s essential that the site surveyors and the manufacturer are on the same page.
When will it be installed?
The first sections of the stair are scheduled to arrive on site for install from May 2018 and will be lowered into place using the tower cranes.
Construction reaches a key milestone
A year into the construction phase and the Building 2 podium has achieved its full height. What’s the podium? It’s the term we use for the wide, eight-level base of the building, before it narrows to form the ‘rotating’ tower structure.
The podium will accommodate the bulk of the student spaces – most notably the UTS Library entrance, reading room and learning commons – as well as general teaching spaces and a food court.
The above photos offer a striking reminder of what’s been achieved in the past year – as does the latest timelapse video.
With construction of the podium completed in March 2018, the focus has now turned to the tower which, despite its distinctive twist, is a simpler process and should see construction hit top speed.
Key construction dates
- Podium structure complete – March 2018
- Building reaches full height (topping out) – late 2018
- Building commissioning commences – May 2019
- UTS Central practical completion – mid 2019