[The University of Sydney Faculty of Law, Library and Teaching Complex
Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp
The University of Sydney Faculty of Law, Library and Teaching Complex
Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp
The University of Sydney’s historic core is now linked by a pedestrian boulevard to the newer Darlington Campus. The boulevard begins at the bronze-clad Fisher Library of 1963, and the new Law School adjoins it. Both were commissioned as symbols of the modern university. The new project comprises a substantial plinth containing the new law library, lecture halls and underground parking. Above, a vast, open terrace links the new boulevard to grand steps leading into the park, and alongside and overhead, pavilion-like elements house the faculty offices and other facilities.
This is a huge project and an impressive orchestration of accommodation, construction and innovation. The design reinforces the campus’s axial planning and its above-podium forms – a floating composition of transparent and layered glass and timber elements – bring visual delight to the prominent site. A metal-clad light cone to the library provides a natural vent and a sculptural accent against the Fisher Library stack. Within the podium are attractively modelled lecture halls and seminar rooms and a very large library. The tower block contains well-resolved offices linked by a suspended glazed bridge (on the cross axis) for informal meetings.
The jury puzzled over some of the grand gestures, including the steps, which are yet to connect with Victoria Park and which preclude natural light and outlook to the library, and also queried the library’s light cone, which logically would celebrate a special role. The elegant glazed facades and the smartly furnished interiors will require careful maintenance to retain their crisp presentation.
The imposing platform, with its framed views and refined superstructures, adds a worthwhile dimension to this part of the campus. The double curtain wall, in particular its adjustable scalloped plywood screens, represents an important innovation.
FJMT (Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp)—project team Richard Francis-Jones, Jeff Morehen, Johnathan Redman, Lina Sjögren, Alison Jones, Richard Desgrand, Christopher Bridge, Ian Brumby, Anthony Clarke, Nataly Ernst, James Feghali, Kate Grooch, Martin Hallen, Prudence Ho, Pei Katty Huang, Conrad Johnston, David Lam, Jason Luk, Phillip Ng, Vikram Mukherjee, Alexander Pienaar, James Sandwith, Daniel Schagemann, Bernd Schlinke, Samuel To, Richard Thorp, Karla Wilford
Mechanical, electrical, communication, av services and vertical transportation
Taylor Thomson Whitting
Hydraulic and fire services
Warren Smith & Partners
Jeppe Aagaard Andersen, Tinka Sack, Turf Design Studio
Fire and acoustic engineering
Quantity surveyor and code compliance
Davis Langdon Australia
The University of Sydney Wind Engineering Services
Andrew Chung (top)
John Gollings (bottom)