Sydney Architecture Images- Sydney University

Old Teachers College Building

architect

George McRae (NSWGA)

location

Manning Road

date

1912-21

style

Inter-War Gothic

construction

brick with sandstone trim

type

lecture halls, etc
 

The College represents the importance of the University's contribution to the professional training of teachers and the notable contribution made by the foundation principal of the College and first Professor of Education, Alexander Mackie. The design of the College was influenced by Mackie's philosophy of teacher training combining both a functional and efficient building with pleasing surroundings. The Sydney Teachers College, the first modern style teacher training institution in NSW was a leading institution in the history of the teaching profession in NSW, contributing to the training of teachers at all levels in the educational system. The building, in the 'Gothic Collegiate' or 'modern Tudor' style of architecture was designed as a contribution to the early 20th century architecture of Science Road, continuing the extension of permanent, well designed architecture into this part of the University grounds.

Moves for the reform of teacher training and stronger university involvement resulted in the establishment of Blackfriars Training College in 1905 under the principalship of Alexander Mackie, followed soon afterwards by the proposal to move the college to the University grounds and the appointment of Mackie to the first Chair of Education in 1910. The foundations for the building, which was planned with Mackie's involvement and derived from the Teachers College in Sheffield, were completed in 1913-1914 but further progress was delayed by the war. Work proceeded on the eastern wing in 1916-1917 which was ready for occupation in 1920 allowing the relocation of part of the Teachers College. Work on the second stage was completed by 23 March 1925 when the College was officially opened. Built on a square plan to accommodate 600 students and staff the College was totally self-contained with its own library and book stack 'constructed entirely of glass and stove enamelled steel', classrooms, common rooms, gymnasium, facilities for social activities, modern science laboratories and a large assembly hall. Departmental classrooms and other facilities including the courtyards were segregated, men on the east side and women on the west, separated by the central block. The College provided training for non-graduate primary and infant teachers, graduates undertaking the Diploma in Education and University teaching in the Department of Education. In accordance with Mackie's philosophy of the importance of aesthetic appeal as well as function, the grounds had carefully planned gardens and the College acquired an art collection. The Teachers College became the Sydney Institute of Education in 1982 as a part of Sydney College of Advanced Education and was amalgamated with the University as a part of the Faculty of Education in 1990 under the Unified National System.

The Teachers College is a three storey Gothic Revival style building designed by the Government Architects branch. The building was designed to complement the other brick and sandstone science faculties which lined nearby Science Road. It continues the architectural vocabulary established by the Government Architect Walter Liberty Vernon at the adjacent Engineering school, including gables and buttresses with sandstone banding, sandstone mullions and tracery and metal windows. It lacks the elaborate stone carvings of the earlier faculties designed by Vernon, which were completed before the war. The main entrance, to the south features a central sandstone bay with a parapet. A copper/muntz metal lantern occurs to the roof at the entrance. These lanterns were characteristic of the faculties designed by the Government Architects branch c. 1900- c. 1920, some of which have been heavily modified by Wilkinson.

 

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