Social Glue

Campus Design Creates Social Glue for Interactive Learning

University of Sydney Business School

With a bent for the natural environment and sustainability, the renovated center for the University of Sydney’s Business School provides a place for innovation, learning, and socialization for both its 6,000 students and the local business community. The solution was to consolidate what was previously several facilities spread out on the campus into a single, cohesive site with nine buildings oriented around both historic buildings and trees.

The redesign culminated into a 40,000-square-meter area—dubbed the Abercrombie Precinct—which now includes significant interventions such as a 550-seat-lecture hall, eight 100-seat study rooms, 40 seminar rooms, a learning hub, a café, and an additional 15,000 square meters of informal learning space.

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Project details

Between each facility are deliberately designed green spaces and exterior stairways that link each building placed along the precinct’s “spine,” or the central pathway. The east-facing entry point is fashioned in a V-shape to accommodate a historical Blue Gum tree. Additionally, all the constructions are set back 11 meters from the property line to give the area the feeling of a public park.

The building is equipped with a layered façade to provide shading and thermal massing with a double-skin building envelope. Interior circulation spaces act as a buffer between the outside and periphery teaching spaces to reduce energy use for the heating and cooling systems. This asset helped meet the university’s sustainability requirements while aligning with the City of Sydney’s program.

Sydney, Australia
University of Sydney Business School
40,000 square meters
Completion Date
KannFinch, Carr

2017 Commendation, Educational Architecture, AIA NSW Chapter

World Architecture Festival (2016) – Shortlisted, Higher Education and Research


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The building was set back 11 meters to retain significant native trees and create a park-like setting.

Reinterpreting the historic local sandstone, the stratification of terracotta baguettes integrates the architecture within the campus aesthetic.