Dr Chau Chak Wing Building

  • The Dr Chau Chak Wing Building is the first building in Australia by internationally renowned architect Frank Gehry.
  • The two main façade elements, brick and glass, integrate seamlessly into the city streetscape.
  • The three-level oval classroom is the world’s largest spanning timber concrete composite slab construction and the first in Australia.

The Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, designed by internationally renowned architects Gehry Partners, has become a new landmark building in Sydney. The new University of Technology, Sydney’s (UTS) Business School is a fusion of architectural and engineering vision, and an exciting place to work and study.

Engineering complex design

Inspired by a tree house, the stacked, undulating design features two major façade materials. The glazed western face blends into the Sydney CBD behind the building, the curved brick exterior reflecting its industrial Ultimo location.

The façade’s irregular form is matched by the shape of the communal, office and lecturing spaces within. Each floor plate is tied to the façade at a uniform distance, creating spaces that mimic the waves of the building’s exterior. This irregularity creates a series of floor plates that are each completely distinct in size and shape.  

Sloping concrete columns intersect the perimeter slab edge at various angles, merging and diverging as they weave their way around the building’s perimeter. Architecturally, the building’s internal spaces are maximised, providing engaging environments for its occupants. The balancing, sloping columns required careful design to ensure structural stability.

To achieve the rolling aesthetic, the curved façade was constructed using individually laid bricks. Our façade engineers worked closely with the sub-contractors to realise a practical, innovative and durable system.

Working with Gehry

Arup has previously worked with Gehry Partners and used the firm’s Building Information Modelling (BIM) software, Digital Project, on a number of projects including the Singapore Sports Hub and the National Stadium in Beijing. This technology was used to create a single shared model between all design consultants.

With staff in Sydney and a team member on site with the main contractor, Lend Lease, Arup was able to respond quickly and effectively to the project’s design and construction demands, seamlessly interchanging between software platforms both in analysis, and documentation and construction. This was particularly useful when resolving in-plane forces in the slabs and clash detection between the structure and other disciplines.

Our collaborative approach in both design and construction ensured that delivery proceeded with minimal disruption – a real triumph on such a complex and innovative building.


  • Dr Chau Chak WingOpen gallery

    Dr Chau Chak Wing building’s floorplates are tied to the undulating façade, creating irregular forms and large cantilevers.

  • Central void with sloping columns.Open gallery

    Sloping concrete columns intersect the perimeter slab edge at various angles.

  • Aerial view of irregular floor plates.Open gallery

    The façade dictates the shape and flow of the open communal, office and lecturing spaces.

  • Glass façade floods the building with light.Open gallery

    Arup was instrumental in designing the high-performance glazing system.