Sydney Architecture Images- Sydney University

Anderson Stuart Building

architect

James Barnet (NSWGA) 1883-92, Walter Liberty Vernon (NSWGA) 1906-12, George McRae (NSWGA) 1918, Leslie Wilkinson 1922.

location

Eastern Avenue

date

1883-1922

style

Victorian Academic Gothic

construction

Sandstone Fine internal courtyard

type

academic offices, lecture theatres
 
 
  The building has been in continuous use as a medical school, the purpose for which it was originally designed, since 1889. The Medical School is closely associated with the work of Professor T P Anderson Stuart who supervised every aspect of its development from 1884 until his death in 1920. The site, quality of design, materials and workmanship of the building gave visible proof of the respectability and dominance of medicine as an academic discipline. This dominance was an important feature of the organisation of the University as a whole for a prolonged period. The building is a fine example of organic growth with harmonious extensions to the original.

The Medical School began its life in 1883 in a small cottage on Science Road (later the site of the School of Mines) but the following year the Senate resolved that a Medical School be erected without delay. Designed by the Colonial Architect, James Barnet, to a specific brief from an academic committee, every aspect of the development of the Medical School was supervised by its founder, the recently appointed Professor of Anatomy and Physiology T P Anderson Stuart. On a prominent site to the south of the main building, the school was designed to be in harmony with it in both architectural style and materials. Construction began in 1884 and the school was occupied in April 1889 although some works continued until 1892. Facilities for women, who had just been admitted to the University, were added during construction. Functional requirements such as large rooms, 20ft ceilings and ventilation control were determined by Anderson Stuart. Additions at the north-west (1909-1910) and north-east (1910-1912) designed by the Government Architect formed a quadrangle on the north side, completed in 1922 when a link between the two additions was completed, designed by Leslie Wilkinson. The building has since been subject to repeated internal subdivision.

The arrangement of the original block is symmetrical, virtually on 2 axes, and has an Elizabethan type 'double faced E' plan. The axes are marked internally by east west and north south corridors paved with white and black marble. The southern and western terminations of the corridors feature English stained glass. The building itself is a brick structure encased in sandstone, and carried out in detailing similar to the main building, on which Barnet had worked as Clerk of Works. Between 1907-12, the Government Architect, W.L. Vernon, added the north west ( c. 1907) and north east (c.1910) extensions and the linking walkway and external spiral staircase. The walkways and stair are an early use of re-enforced concrete. In 1922 the Professor of Architecture Leslie Wilkinson completed the north facade inserting an Elizabethan Revival style pavilion between the earlier wings. Each addition has been designed to complement the earlier stages of the building. With the exception of the corridors, western staircase, and perhaps Vernon's Listerian Theatre, no interiors have survived in an unmutilated condition. Externally the building has carved sandstone detailing, including a raven who watches over the entrance. The raven is an allusion to Anderson Stuart. Many of the original decorative features of each stage also survive including stained glass and marble flooring, metalwork, tilework, door furniture and light fittings. Evidence of earlier colour schemes and finishes also survives. Two courtyards were formed, at different levels due to the slope of the site, separated by a link building in the form of a cloister (now modified). The original wing contained a museum and laboratories on the ground floor and five theatres and a dissecting room on the first floor. Additional theatres were constructed within the new wings. The building contains a collection of busts of "medical heroes".

 

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