The squashed paper bag building is an Australian architectural icon

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The first building in Australia designed by architect Frank Gehry has been opened at a cost of US$138 million. Part of the University of Technology in Australia, the Dr Chau Chak Wing will be home to around 1,600 staff and students. The Governor of Australia called it “the most beautiful squashed brown paper bag” that he had seen.


[Image Source: UTS]

The design of the building was given approval in 2010 and began on it in late 2012. The feature that stands out on the building and which gave it the name of the “squashed paper bag” building is the sandstone undulating façade that faces to the east. 320,000 handmade bricks were used on the building and these were set at angles that called for one of the best bricklayers in Australia to come back from retirement. The architect chose bricks as he said that there is humanity about them that modern buildings just don’t have and which can often result in a cold look.


[Image Source: UTS]

The interior of the building is just as modern as the exterior thanks to the design of oval classrooms along with areas specifically designed to encourage the collaborating of students. All of the lecture areas also avoid traditional hierarchical structures. The building has been given the 5 star Green Star rating, the air conditioning system among other things attributed to this rating. The system is able to tell how many people are in the room and then adjusts itself accordingly.

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[Image Source: UTS]

"This building can and will be manipulated over time and will change as it's being used," said Gehry. "People will invent ways to use it. The tendency to build buildings where everything is fixed for a fixed program is an obsolete."


[Image Source: UTS]

The idea for the building also came about through unusual methods as Gehry said that he had originally drawn the design for it on a napkin while having lunch. He then made over 150 paper and wooden models in various sizes before modelling the final design in aviation software.


gehry-paper-bag-16[Image Source: UTS]

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