Sydney Architecture Images- Sydney University

Old Geology Building

architect

Walter Liberty Vernon (NSWGA) 1893-5, Leslie Wilkinson 1920.

location

Science Road

date

1893

style

Wilkinsonesque Georgian/Inter-War Mediterranean. (facelift)

construction

stone.

type

staff offices. Originally teaching rooms with lecture theatre.
 
 
   
The last of the group of 'temporary' buildings constructed in Science Road in the late 1880-90s to accommodate the extension of the curriculum into professional subjects, a major development of the period. Typical of the functional and unornamented construction of the period, in sharp contrast to the architecture of the original University buildings. The building housed the Department of Geology for over 60 years and as such was associated with the development of mining and geology as academic subjects which made a significant contribution to the development of mining engineering and to the exploitation of mineral resources in NSW and Australia. The building makes a contribution to the Science Road precinct. An example of a purpose built School of Mines, a Victorian institution that did not survive into the late twentieth century.

With the extension of the engineering curriculum in the late 1880s to include mining, plans were prepared by the Government Architect in 1893 for a School of Mines which was completed for use at the beginning of 1895. The site had previously been occupied by a small cottage and associated building used as the first Medical School. Of stuccoed brick and unornamented design, the building provided accommodation for geology, mining and mineralogy. At the back was a large lecture theatre with a seating capacity of 250. In 1915-1918 the building was connected to the Macleay Museum by a bridge. Substantial alterations and additions made in 1920 by Professor Leslie Wilkinson as a part of his plan for remodelling Science Road, included raising the roof over the centre of the building for a new lecture theatre and single-storey extensions. The front of the building was radically altered by the replacement of the original hipped roof with three gables, the removal of the porch and the addition of a balcony. In 1962 when vacated by Geology, the building was converted for use by administration and Biological Sciences. The 1890s hipped roof form was restored in 1981.

Rendered brick 2 storey building with triple gable on Science Road facade. A somewhat picturesque irregular composition faces the Parramatta footbridge approach, and an unhappy extension from this building collides with the NW towers of the Macleay Museum on the east. The building was remodelled by Professor Wilkinson to fit in with his plans for Science Road.

 

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