Sydney recently broke with a surge of excitement when it was announced that world-renowned architect Frank O Gehry had been commissioned to design the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building for the UTS (the University of Technology Sydney). As one of the most influential architects of this generation, there were many who, along with the city’s architecture and design communities, were understandably abuzz with anticipation.
Gehry is famous for many iconic buildings. Works to date include the Dancing Building in Prague, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, and the Peter B. Lewis Library Building at Princeton University.
The design for his first building in Australia is unlike anything he has previously constructed. The outstanding result is a unique building skin with an undulating and corbelled brick veneer – laid entirely by hand – for the eastern façade facing Sydney’s city centre, and a chevron pattern in large sheets of glass for the building’s western façade.
Lucy Hughes Turnbull AO launched IMAGES’ book Gehry in Sydney at a special reception in the building on Friday 6 May, 2016. Speaking at the launch, Turnbull talked about the “sensational result which arose from a very good process, and it shows us all that there really is a design dividend from great design.”
Co-author Dr Liisa Naar, a designer and postdoctoral research fellow at UTS, spent hundreds of hours as a “fly on the wall” as the building moved from concept to completion. Naar describes Gehry as a “genius” who “inspires us and stimulates us, as people who work and teach and learn in this building … when I walk towards it, it makes me smile.” As well as thanking the executive architects on the project, Daryl Jackson, Robin Dyke and Daniel Beekwilder of DJRD in particular, she also offered some glowing praise for the team at IMAGES. “Images Publishing … were a great team to work with, and Rod Gilbert in particular. We had so many phone calls over a two-year period, yet have never met in person”.
Turnbull has also been quoted as lauding Gehry in Sydney as a “stunning” book. “It has the most magical combination between text and narrative on the one hand with illustrations and snapshots of people’s perspectives. As a book of a building … it is really, I think, absolutely exceptional.”
You can read more about the launch on the UTS website at http://www.uts.edu.au/about/uts-business-school/news/gehry-building-pays-design-dividend-turnbull.