Australia-based Lacoste + Stevenson were recently awarded the first place prize in a competition to design the new UTS Podium Extension at the University of Technology in Sydney. The light, transparent, and inviting three-story building is covered in glass, creating a welcome contrast to the stark and brutal UTS Tower in the background. Like a light and airy cloud, the Podium Extension acts as the front door to the University and leads to the heart of the campus. Ample daylighting, natural ventilation and a green roof make up the structure's green building strategy.
Located in the heart of Sydney, UTS is an urban university that is designed to fit within its urban context while creating its own separate and unique identity as a space for students to learn. The Podium Extension acts as both a wall to the university as well as a window into the heart of the bustling activity. Inside is a flexible and dynamic space for students to meet that is capable of accommodating various programs. Also included in the building is an experimental cinema and a bookstore. At night, movies, announcements, art, and other media will be projected onto the glass facade.
Daylighting is naturally the most prominent feature of the structure — sunlight filters throughout the interior, making the space feel warm and welcoming. The glass is sealed in order to minimize noise and pollution, and a frit pattern is applied to the glass above the first level and the awnings to reduce solar heat gain. Meanwhile the roof is covered in a lacy pattern of green spaces and atriums that also serve as light wells and ventilation channels. These features cover about 80% of the roof and provide excellent insulation while offering an attractive view of the surrounding tall buildings.