Mix and match: an Australian university combines workspace and art
The Western Sydney University (WSU) has just got a new office, gallery and meeting space in the shape of the Chancellery fit-out by Australian architects Allen Jack + Cottier.
The Sydney based architecture firm was called upon to work on this project – the redesign of an existing space within the university’s Parramatta campus – which would become one of the institution’s key centres.
'Our starting point with good workplace design is that it has to work at a practical level, whilst reflecting the vision and aspiration of our client,' says Allen Jack + Cottier’s Scott Norton. 'In this case, we were very fortunate that the Vice Chancellor clearly understood the value of good design.'
Warm timber, sourced locally, and the design’s clean, modern lines are matched by artworks and furniture, selected especially for this space. The program spans a whole floor within its building.
The project was not without its challenges. The architects had to work with relatively low ceiling heights that couldn’t be changed, but they managed to create a bright and inviting space thanks to a carefully calculated balance of natural and artificial light.
The program was also relatively unusual. It blends public areas – such as the gallery, where Western Sydney University’s collection of artworks and gifts from other universities and institutions are displayed – with more private sections, such as the school’s administrative offices.
An undulating timber wall successfully divides the two areas. Differences in materials and colour palette create a further distinction.
Still, there is a clear unified approach in this project that combines workspaces with art display and public meeting areas. Matt finishes and natural materials ensure a warm and welcoming space throughout, for students and employees alike.