UTS Central is a vibrant student hub and faculty space at the heart of the University’s city campus. The 17-storey building is home to the new UTS library, study and teaching spaces, the high-tech Hive Superlab and a publicly accessible food court’. AECOM provided structural and civil engineering services on the project and faced several complex design challenges which included a dramatic architectural design, as well as aligning the new structure with the campus grid axes and the intersecting Broadway, a major thoroughfare adjacent to the campus.

Due to its location on the fringe of the CBD in Sydney there were significant limitations on space and opportunity for the UTS campus to spread and grow horizontally, this was the driving force behind the concept to establish a new ‘vertical campus’. Critical to the project’s success in achieving this vertical campus philosophy was the structural solution developed by AECOM. The use of raking columns to minimise transfer structure created expansive column-free spaces through detailed coordination of the existing and new structure. This will provide UTS with the ability to use the floor plates for multiple modes and the flexibility for adaptation as teaching and learning needs evolve over time.

This vertical campus philosophy required significant engineering solutions and innovations to deliver a building structure capable of providing the integrated learning environments. The structure also had to stand out and project its presence within a precinct of Sydney famed for its strong architectural design. These requirements presented significant challenges from a structural engineering perspective to deliver across several fronts including;

  • Raking columns inclined up to 28° and slender columns of 400mm in spaces up to 13.1m tall.
  • A structural core that accommodates not only the buildings iconic twist but also a more subtle “lean” to the north, creating an overturning action in that direction.
  • Retention and reuse of the existing basement that contained plant equipment servicing adjoining buildings, requiring continuous operation throughout the project.
  • Typical spans of 17m and 18m long within a building approx. 66m tall, 55m wide and 80m long (podium dimensions) and a maximum floor span of over 21 m long.
  • Achieving an industry leading energy rating, featuring an innovative district tri-gen cooling connection to the building from Central Park.
  • Integration with existing buildings that were still live environments.
  • Facilitate extreme façade design using 3600 glass pieces made from 48 types of glass, the largest measuring 6 x 2.3m and weighing almost 700kg.

Awarded 5-stars by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA), UTS Central incorporates several energy-saving measures that ensure it’s a green building. These measures include custom-made automatic sunshades, adjustable louvre blinds within a closed-cavity façade on all upper levels and a plastic-free food court where all single-use plastic items have been eliminated and replaced with reusable, recyclable and compostable alternatives. AECOM also facilitated the inclusion of a district cooling connection which sources cooling thermal energy via underground pipes below Broadway from Central Park. This connection means an almost three percent reduction in UTS’s greenhouse gas emissions (over 1,000 tonnes a year).

Not only does UTS Central bring striking architectural variety to its precinct, it will act as a benchmark project within the region attracting more visitors and students to the surrounding area and succeeding in delivery a truly future ready educational environment. AECOM are proud to have been a key delivery partner in this final component of UTS’ decade long City Campus redevelopment Master Plan.