Sydney Architecture Images- Sydney University



Leslie Wilkinson and Bertrand James Waterhouse.


Science Road


1922-24, 1939-41.


Georgian style square and round headed windows that exemplify the typical Wilkinson Inter-War Mediterranean


rendered brick


Dining, ball room.
It is an unusual hall design for NSW. It is also included in the Science Road Classified Precinct for its undoubted streetscape value. The forecourt and loggia was designed to enjoy a vista across the campus, including the Physics building and St Pauls College. A significant addition to the first permanent purpose-built building for the men's student union, which has been in continuous use and constantly adapted for that purpose since its construction. One of the Mediterranean style buildings in Science Road designed by Leslie Wilkinson and added to, at a later date, in continuation of the Wilkinson style.

The Sydney University Union was established in 1874 on the model of the Oxbridge Union Societies and the first permanent building for the Union was constructed in 1910- 1912 to designs by the Government Architect. In 1923-1924 substantial dining extensions were made by Leslie Wilkinson and Waterhouse & Lake comprising a refectory, withdrawing room, bevery, kitchen and storage areas. Set back from Science Road between the west end of the original Union building and Zoology, the new refectory in Mediterranean style was opened on 24 March 1924. Built by Conrad Harrison. This was subsequently extended in 1940-1941, an arcade added on the south side and a small addition made to the back of the 1934 extension. The courtyard between Zoology and the Union buildings was to be regarded in this work. Built by R Driscoll. Three murals have been painted by Vergil J J Lo Schiavo in the Refectory; a 'Tribute to Shakespeare' in 1944 in the eastern gallery overlooking the refectory (awarded the 1945 Sulman Prize); 'A Tribute to Dickens' in the western gallery in 1951-1952; and 'Mankind' in 1971. The Refectory is an addition to the Union Building. Its name reflects one of the sources of inspiration of the design, a monastic or university dining hall with a minstrels gallery over. Plans for a dining room extension to the Union were initially drawn up in 1914 however these were abandoned due to the war. This design, which continued the brick and sandstone architectural vocabulary of the Union Building was abandoned.

At the back of a 3-sided court facing Science Road is a grandiose 7 bay arcaded loggia with thin applied ionic pilasters on piers. A corresponding shallow arch motif surrounds each window or door in the loggia. Squat towers terminate the facade. The facade is rendered and painted white. The interior of the main hall is interesting with galleries set on simple unmoulded 3 bay arcade at each end. The north wall, above the panelling and below the clerestory, is occupied by a very large mural by Lo Schiavo. Smaller murals are on the back walls of each gallery. The SE wing joining the Refectory to the Union is a domestic scale 4 bay Georgian Revival style building with render and shutters.