QUADRANGLE BUILDING, UNSW.
Architects: Peddle Thorp & Walker
Project Architect: Brian Moore
Builder: Concrete Constructions
Brief and design intent
The University wanted a landmark building to serve as a recognisable centre for the University and regarded the size and scale of the quadrangle at Sydney University as a good model, including the tower which may have a carillon in the future. The planning had to take into account existing student routes across campus and led to the wide colonnade at ground level and verandah at first floor level which contributes to the University's desire to provide a safe all weather access from Anzac Parade to all parts of the campus.
The building houses the Faculty of Economics, with lecture theatres, computer workshops and staff offices. Because of its central location it also includes many services such as: the student union, bars, bookshop, counselling service and dentist. The various users' functional needs were developed by the architects and the University's Facility Management using working parties which, however, had no input into the building's aesthetic. The need to preserve the view to the west from the top of the adjoining Electrical Engineering building set a height limit.
Brick and concrete has been used on the campus, but the University did not specify any materials for this building. Precast concrete was considered, but rejected in favour of the "softer" and more "natural" image that brickwork would give, and which was further "softened" by rendering and painting large areas of brickwork. Brickwork was also seen as being a more traditional material for University buildings. The University required a 20 year maintenance free period and the brickwork met this criterion. Face brick was chosen for walls in circulation areas that would receive the heaviest use and be most vulnerable to graffiti.
The structure is a conventional reinforced concrete frame with non- loadbearing external brick walls and steel stud and plasterboard internal walls. Offset and set back walls made load-bearing brickwork not feasible. The main axis of the building runs east west to optimise the exposure of the quadrangle to the sun. Sun control shutters were incorporated into north, east and west facing windows with a 1.5 m roof overhang.
The architect was commissioned for full services. The builder was selected by competitive lump sum tender and was valued at around $22 000 000. The contract was administered by the architect without a project manager. A Clerk of Works was used and an architect was on site for the latter stages of the project. It was completed in 1992. The architects believe that the contractual arrangements contributed significantly to the building's success.
The dry pressed bricks were supplied by Bowral Bricks and were stockpiled on site. A larger than normal sill brick was the only non-catalogue special needed. Several sample panels of brickwork were built to establish an acceptable standard and to test rendering and painting. The mortar was coloured to not contrast with the brick colour.