Nicole Hasham -Nov 23, 2012
Bespoke construction. how the building will look.
IT HAS been likened to a melted chocolate castle, sagging skin, and by those startled by its freakish angles, a crumpled paper bag.
But in the end, the project billed as Sydney's most distinctive since the Opera House will consist of 320,000 homely brown bricks, laid by hand.
Construction giant Lend Lease has won the bid to build the landmark building at the University of Technology, Sydney, designed by acclaimed architect, Frank Gehry.
Costs have already spiralled on the $180 million project, which was originally priced at $150 million.
The UTS vice-chancellor, Ross Milbourne, attributed the blowout to excavation delays and changes to the complex brickwork construction.
The Herald was granted a first look at a mock-up of the facade on Thursday. It will be built brick by brick, rather than using a cheaper "brick curtain" method, which would have detracted from the fluid, undulating design, Professor Milbourne said.
It is due to be completed in mid-2014. Construction will be a "bespoke",
at times slow process, said the managing director of Lend Lease's project management and construction business, Murray Coleman.
Mr Gehry has attracted accolades, and criticism, for his unconventional designs including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the InterActive Corp headquarters in New York.
The new Faculty of Business building will be the 83-year-old architect's first in Australia.
He was unperturbed by the unflattering "paper bag" comparisons, Professor Milbourne said, reportedly responding "if only I could go down in history as the man who did that, I would die a very happy man".
Mr Gehry has described the building's internal structure as being like a "tree house", designed to encourage a sense of "creative play".
The 12-storey building will be built on the former Dairy Farmers site between the ABC Ultimo Centre and the Powerhouse Museum. It will hold up to 2000 students and 390 academics.
It will be named after Dr Chau Chak Wing, an Australian-Chinese businessman who donated $20 million for its construction and $5 million for scholarships.