'Folds in skin' inspire Frank Gehry's new UTS 'paper bag' building
Internationally-renowned architect Frank Gehry has seen his new building for the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) business school officially opened, commenting that renaissance artists and architects are the drivers of his design philosophy.
In comments that are sure to be of interest to architects across West Sussex, Gehry has described his lifelong fascination with folds in the skin and clothing, remarking of his new structure's curves and folds: "The fold is primitive, you're in your mother's arms when you're a child, and so we tried to do that with brick."
Responding to the suggestions of some observers that the building has the appearance of a squashed brown paper bag, he suggested: "Maybe it's a brown paper bag, but it's flexible on the inside, there's a lot of room for changes or movement."
He added that there was scope for the further evolution over time of many of the UTS building's learning spaces, with some of its main classrooms, for instance, being oval-shaped to enable all of the students to face each other.
The interior of the building is also distinguished by its crumpled mirrored staircase and breakout spaces with lounges, allowing students to congregate and share ideas. The building cost $180 million, with $20 million of that coming from Chinese businessman Dr Chau Chak Wing, who lent the UTS business school its name.
As for Gehry's verdict on his latest creation, he has joked of the positive reaction that "It's a lot of pride, because they're acting like they like it", while adding that Sydney's best architecture is still that built in the 19th century. However, he has expressed his hope that his new structure will join those already in the affection of Sydney residents.
Few admirers of the finest in architectural design will begrudge the building's status as one of the boldest features of the Australian city's skyline, as one might expect of the man who also brought the world the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.