2012 IES NSW Commendation Award Winner. UTS Great Hall by Steensen Varming

The University of Technology Sydney’s (UTS) most important ceremonial venue was to undergo a complete transformation to reveal a very modern take on the former Great Hall. The reinvented Great Hall and new Balcony Room was to reopen in January 2012, completed under the University’s visionary City Campus Master Plan.

The lighting design criteria for the Great Hall required it to be a space for multifunctional use, including graduation ceremonies, lectures, formal dinners, examinations and events, creates a new ceremonial heart, transforming the existing interior into a warm, with a tactile and dramatic volume.

The ideas that inform the architecture equally influence and shape the lighting design creating a coherent design.

Lighting is fully integrated into architectural design, defining the spatial qualities whilst providing utmost flexibility for the various usages and functions as well as adaptability for future requirements.

Lighting elements are engraved into the warm fluid skin of perforated metal wrapping the existing concrete interior as embodiment of the UTSs commitment to new design and technologies.

The lighting in the function space, balcony room provides visual connection and becomes a lantern through the facade at night time, enhancing the campus.

A combination of general lighting, directional lighting and indirect lighting of the mantle surfaces were realized through lighting slots in the mantle and provide various lighting modes, from ambient glow to accent spotlighting. The appearance of colour, both in terms of chromaticity and colour rendition were critical for the overall feeling, comfort and visual performance within the space and needed to match the warm tone of the mantle skin.

In line with the University of Technology Sydney principles, environmental considerations formed a key component of the design; energy minimization was realized through advanced lighting control and lighting equipment.

The Balcony Room is a lofty foyer space and utilized for functions and as ante-room prior to entering the Great Hall. The space is lit to mark and enhance the entry and to create a welcoming and comfortable space; ceiling uplighters provide a balance to the incoming daylight, and make the space glow at night, creating a silhouette effect with the louvers on the outer glazing. A continuous band of light wraps around the outer skin of the Great Hall and leads from the foyer to the Balcony room and to the Great Hall entry.

Digitally addressable tracks and a digitally addressable based control system with audiovisual and stage lighting interfaces met the need for flexible lighting control, programmability and dimmability which formed key requirements for the lighting operation, especially as the space is used for various purposes and various seating arrangements.

Architecture and Lighting together create an environment that responds to the various functions and requirements and enhance peoples senses in preparation for the event or seminar to come.


Lighting Design: Steensen Varming
Architect: DRAW Architects
Photographer: Brett Boardman

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