Urban Jungle AMG

Renowned for creating some of the worlds most peculier buildings with overly complex designs, architect Frank Gehry’s first design in Australia is the Dr Chau Chak Wing facility for the UTS Business School.

Completed in 2015 and costing a whopping $140 million to build, this 12-story, sandstone-coloured building was created using 320,000 custom-designed bricks, which were all laid by hand!  

Despite the building looking like a brown paper bag by critics, I was eager to see it in person for the first time. So much so that I decided to head into the city early on Saturday morning, before I had a class at Billy Blue Design School in Ultimo.

Since my parents were taking the fat bikes out for a ride around Centennial Park that morning, I scored a lift into the city, and decided to ask Dad to take a quick detour in his A 45 AMG before I got dropped off. 

I've always been fond of shooting anything automotive, but lately I have wanted to delve into shooting architecture and the urban surrounds of Sydney, and I thought I would combine the two subjects together and shoot Dad's A 45 in front of the University of Technology.

When we arrived outside the modern building and I got my first glimpse of it, I was astounded by it’s odd design, and curious to see more. I was instantly captivated, and although it was raining quite heavily and I wasn't dressed appropriately, I didn’t let it stop me from hopping out of the A 45, and capturing the crazily curved building in the pouring rain.

In fact the wet conditions made me realise how much I actually love shooting in the rain. The lighting was perfect, and it allowed me to create some cool-toned, moody shots.

Whilst my parents waited patiently inside the car as I happily snapped away in the rain, I took a moment to myself and looked down at what I was capturing. I was so stoked with how the shots were turning out that I immediately wanted to skip class and head straight home to see how they turned out on the big screen. But I quickly reminded myself to be present in the moment as the photos on my camera could wait, and appreciate the two subjects as they stood perfectly before me. 

This so called 'brown paper bag' building, paired with the A 45 AMG looked incredible in the wet. 

With the facade of the building reminiscent of a rock climbing wall, and the two bikes positioned on top of the sports car, everything about what stood in front of me was screaming for adventure, and I was curious to see more.

Although the focus of the building, and the design, is however on its external skin – this is a building for learning, and inside are many circulation areas which contain lounges and niches for students to hang out, work and collaborate. These link into teaching spaces, which are a combination of traditional rooms along with collaborative lecture and tutorial spaces. You could image how creative and inspired a student would feel whilst studying here.

Hopefully next time I can explore the interior of this iconic rococo style building, which leaves me with this question. Does anyone know how I can get inside?! 🙋🏼