The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) Alumni Green has transformed a city campus, juxtaposing brutalist architecture with vibrant, green urban space. Alumni Green offered a unique opportunity as part of the university’s billion-dollar City Campus Master Plan to provide vital green infrastructure and a humane centrepiece in a highly urbanised part of Sydney.
Prior to the redevelopment of Alumni Green, the UTS City Campus was characterised by a disparate collection of buildings with extremely limited opportunities for students to gather. By prioritising the design of places for people to work and socialise, Alumni Green has become the green social heart of the campus: a place where people want to work, stay, be and play, creating a ‘sticky campus’.
As an unfenced project the peaceful and functional surrounds draw in not only students and staff of the university but also the wider community. The project brings a vision of a city where natural processes are integrated into the urban environment. Landscape forms the fabric to stitch together existing and proposed buildings as a cohesive and permeable environment, promoting physical and social connection, integrated into the surrounding community.
Constructed as a green roof over the university library, Alumni Green has been designed to create adequate soil depths for trees to allow soil volumes under paved areas to be connected, allowing trees to thrive. With an excellent balance between hard and soft surfaces, Alumni Green contributes to Sydney’s resilience targets including a 50% increase in green cover by 2030.
The project includes the creation of an extensive green roof terrace on the Science and Graduate School of Health Building. The terrace acts as a conduit for water storage which is transported to ground level and stored for irrigating the gardens of Alumni Green. The green roof provides positive environmental benefits to the building as well as another opportunity for break out and social engagement.
Alumni Green offers a series of three distinct landscape experiences, responding to the specific microclimatic conditions of the site:
1. The Green – a large, raised turf platform used for special events, large and small gatherings, quiet reflection, informal daily activities, passive and active recreation. Landscaped edges provide informal seating areas.
2. The Heart – a ceremonial gathering space for students and visitors modelled after town squares like Federation Square, Melbourne and the Pompidou Centre, Paris.
3. The Garden – a mini oasis of trees and plants shading a series of connected student ‘pods’, each containing facilities ranging from power outlets for laptops, BBQs and ping pong tables, supporting the concept of ‘social infrastructure’.
The core principle of Alumni Green was placing people at the centre of the university. Alumni Green is embedded as the green social heart of the UTS City Campus, putting people first, providing a vibrant space for the campus and wider community to work, relax and socialise. This new green and social infrastructure – including The Goods Line, Central Park and Darling Square – is vital to injecting new life into a long undervalued precinct of the city.
Contributed by ASPECT Studios
Photo © Simon Wood
Photo © Florian Groehn
ASPECT Studios (Project Lead and Landscape Architect)
Taylor Thomson Whitting (Structural Engineering)
Warren Smith + Partners (Hydraulic Engineering)
Steensen Varming (Lighting Design & Electrical Engineering)
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)
Arup (Hydraulic Engineering)
Savills Project Management (Project Management)
Richard Crookes Constructions (Head Contractor)
Regal Innovations (Landscape Contractor)
Budget: AUS $5 million
Area size: 6,500 m²
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