Sydney Architecture Images- Sydney University

Blackburn Building

architect

Edwin Evan Smith (NSWGA)

location

Off Western Ave.

date

1930-33

style

Inter-War Art Deco

construction

plan- large rectangle close to the golden mean in proportions.

type

laboratories
 
 
 
The construction of the new medical school represents the period of reorganisation and modernisation of the medical curriculum and the development of research as an integral component of modern medicine. The location of the New Medical School adjacent to and with a direct link to RPAH showed the close connection between the University's medical faculty, its teaching hospital and staff, and was a catalyst for the future addition of associated medical facilities in this area of the campus. The provision of new facilities for medicine in the depression of the early 1930s was effected by generous support from private philanthropy including the first chair in bacteriology in an Australian university. The Blackburn Building, has been, and remains, a direct link between the two institutions: Sydney University and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. It is associated with the teaching role of the hospital. It is also a good example of the work of the Government Architect Evan Smith. The construction of the new medical school represents the period of reorganisation and modernisation of the medical curriculum and the development of research as an integral component of modern medicine.

In the decade following WWI the Medical School grew steadily in both student and staff numbers with new departments serving an enlarged curriculum. A large donation by G H Bosch in 1929 funded chairs in medicine, surgery and bacteriology but no accommodation was available for research until the Rockefeller Foundation gave 100,000 pounds to fund laboratory facilities in subjects in the medical curriculum. Designed by the Government Architect the new building was located on a site formerly occupied by tennis courts close to the teaching hospital, RPA, to which it was connected by a covered way. Of rectangular plan with a central octagon and two light courts the building housed the clinical school and research facilities, with teaching laboratories and theatres for senior medical students (Years 4, 5 & 6) on the west (hospital) side and research laboratories on the east. The 1st and 2nd floors housed medicine and surgery, the 3rd floor pathology and the 4th floor obstetrics and bacteriology. The central octagon housed the library, pathology museum and animal house. The new medical school was opened on 28 September 1933 during the medical school's jubilee celebrations. The Anderson Stuart building then became known as the Old Medical School and was used for teaching Years 1, 2 & 3. The building has continued to be adapted for medical research needs including substantial works in the 1960s. The Blackburn Building was built in 1933 as the new medical school for Sydney University. It was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and was originally known as the Rockefeller Building. The building created a physical link between the University and the adjacent teaching hospital, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Consisting of four storeys, the basement was for storage and operative surgery, the ground floor for medicine and surgery, the first floor for medical and surgical demonstrations, staff offices &c, the second floor for classrooms, museums and laboratories, the third

The Blackburn Building is constructed with a steel and re-inforced concrete frame and clad with dark red face bricks. The basement level is constructed of sandstone. The facade above the basement level is articulated with vertical brick piers capped with sandstone. At the front entrance are carved heads of medical heroes, including Louis Pasteur. The building has a mansard roof, which is stepped back from the line of the facade. The roof is clad with slate. The downpipes are copper as is the roof guttering. internally much of the timber joinery and ornamental metal work remains intact.

 

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