UTS Alumni Green – From Student Campus to Public City Square

Article by Joanna Łaska – UTS Alumni Green by ASPECT Studios, in UTS City Campus, Ultimo, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Who says that university campus grounds have to be dull and boring? ASPECT Studios strikes again, proving that thinking outside the box can transform a student-only campus site into a green and lively space for everybody to enjoy.

UTS Alumni Green by ASPECT Studios won a competition held by the University of Technology, Sydney, to breathe new life into the future of Alumni Green, the university’s main outdoor space. The project, which was inspired by the world’s iconic public spaces, creates a new, multifunctional meeting point for students, staff and the public at large.

UTS Alumni Green

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

UTS Alumni Green

Compromising to Meet Everyone’s Needs

The brilliance of the design lies in the details. The project’s creators have thought through many aspects that will influence the design, now and in the future. The designers have kept in mind the immediate users of the space — the students and staff of the university — as well as other potential users.

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

Alumni Green’s contemporary design has three distinct zones, each with its own individual character and facilities, which provide for all the various needs of its users (who, in fact, comprise many different ages). With its differentiated zones and activities, Alumni Green provides everybody with something to enjoy. The three zones — The Green, The Heart, and The Garden — have individual landscapes that enhance the differentiated qualities of technology — the university’s domain.

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

The Green

A large, raised turf platform dedicated to special events and everyday activities is surrounded by informal seating areas in The Green. The seating areas are dotted with large umbrellas, creating a casual atmosphere. This only adds to the fun aspect of the whole design, motivating lively interaction among people.

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

The Heart

The Heart resembles a typical city square. It has been modeled on city squares such as the Federation Square in Melbourne and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. The Heart truly deserves its name, as it is the epicenter for every ceremonial gathering of students, staff, and visitors. It is the most representative and decorative part of Alumni Green.

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

The Garden

The Garden is a tree-and-plant-enclosed mini oasis of connected “pods”. All of these pods serve different functions — from BBQ grills to power outlets for laptops and phones to ping pong tables. The pods are also accompanied by many comfortable seating benches.

The casualness of the place is important in making the space feel as comfortable as possible. When people feel relaxed, it improves their interactions with others and allows them to enjoy a quick rest between lectures.

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

Materials Unite the Zones

Alumni Green is made up of three very different zones, and the clear boundaries among them create food for thought as to how to unify them into one solid space. The coherency of the three zones has been achieved by the use of certain materials throughout the project. Openwork metal, wooden seats, raw concrete — all of these materials are repeatedly and consistently used in Alumni Green, uniting all of its zones into one coherent space.

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Simon Wood

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Simon Wood

Supporting Nature

In addition to providing many different facilities and activities for users to enjoy, Alumni Green also considers nature in its design. The university asked ASPECT Studios to create an extensive green roof on top of the new DBJ/BVN science building. Such solutions provide huge positive environmental impacts on the building.

The ecological aspect has been carefully considered and developed throughout the project, and the extensive green roof is a great envisioning of this. The green roof also serves as another space for social engagements.

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Simon Wood

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Simon Wood

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Florian Groehn

Perfect for All

The importance of Alumni Green in terms of the overall landscape of Sydney is greater than we may think. Alumni Green is not just a typical campus site. Alumni Green’s importance lies in its openness to all people. The varied functions and facilities the project has to offer add to the value not only of the university, but also to the city itself. The project serves as a connector between academic and city lives.

Such projects add to the quality of city life. Considering everybody’s needs and thinking outside the box can be hard at times, but as we can see from the Alumni Green that when it works, it works perfectly.

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UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Simon Wood

UTS Alumni Green . Photo credit: Simon Wood

Full Project Credits For UTS Alumni Green :

Project Title: UTS Alumni Green
Location: UTS City Campus, Ultimo, Sydney, NSW, 2007, Australia
Client: University of Technology Sydney
Project Lead and Landscape Architect: ASPECT Studios

Team:
ASPECT Studios (Project Lead and Landscape Architect)
Taylor Thomson Whitting (Structural Engineering)
Warren Smith + Partners (Hydraulic)
Steensen Varming (Lighting & Electrical)
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)
Savills Project Management (Project Manager)
Richard Crookes Constructions (Head Contractor)
Regal Innovations (Landscape Contractor)

Photography: Simon Wood, Florian Groehn
Year: 2015
Area size: 6,500 sqm
Budget: AUD $5 million
Awards:
2015 AILA NSW Awards – Excellence in Design
2015 Sydney Design Awards: Gold Winner for Landscape Design

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