A Sign of Technology

University of Technology Sydney

1

Facts

  • Client:
  • Completion:
    2015

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The City Campus Masterplan for the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has guided the development of the institution since 2008. Conceived as a blueprint for the long-term strategic aims of UTS, the Masterplan concluded that meeting its educational and research aims required significant investments in physical and social environments. Seven years down the track the UTS campus has seen enormous and positive changes and a rapidly rising ranking amongst Australian and International Universities.


BRIEF

Identified as critical to the success of the UTS Masterplan was the need to address the fragmented nature of the campus, lack of quality open spaces, and accommodate future growth in both student and staff numbers. The movement of the Kuringai Campus to the city added further pressure on the existing facilities. As a result 4 new landmark buildings were added to UTS’ existing stock of 15 city properties centred around a new connective green space named Alumni Green. Designed by the likes of Denton Corker Marshal, Bligh Voller Neild, Daryl Jackson Robin Dyke Architects, Hassell, Durbach Block Jaggers and Gehery Partners, the $1 billion of investment in buildings has already created new perceptions of UTS. Essential to the success of these projects was the establishment of a coordinated and considered signage system that would integrate the campus and bring the Masterplan’s values to life. BrandCulture’s role was to leverage our experience of wayfinding to implement the signage Masterplan created by Frost* Design that would drive better connectivity across the campus.


INNOVATION

The scheduling, coordination and implementation of 8,000 signs across 65 sign types, 19 buildings and 110 floors was a challenge in and of itself. For each space facility, project and faculty managers required input into the result and to facilitate this process BrandCulture developed a proprietary online signage planning and management system call Physical Asset Manager (or PAM for short). The MediaBank PAM system allowed all project stakeholders to collaborate live on problems and solutions, delivering the full project at the same time that the 4 landmark buildings were sequentially opened alongside multiple renovations which were undertaken across the campus as Faculties and Schools moved from space to space. At the same time, BrandCulture identified early on the benefit to the program of creating a live wayfinding solution. The constant movement across large campuses and regular influx of new users is a fact of life for universities. By linking a live wayfinding platform to PAM we ensured that the database of destinations was always current. Next, a mobile-phone optimised website was built, allowing users to find destinations whenever and wherever they were, greatly improving the student experience.


CHALLENGE

Working with the project control group BrandCulture undertook an extensive review and rationalisation of the signage system created by Frost* design. A key outcome was to move away from using proprietary systems to a custom design using interchangeable magnetic parts, freeing UTS from being locked into a single supplier. Extensive research was required to specify a paint system, robust enough to accommodate the constant changing of signage components and the specification and development of precision components to allow full interchangeability across the system. Another innovation was for the first time in Australia using direct digital 3D printing on a large scale to create customised tactile signage across the campus. As part of a campus-wide smart signage strategy the project’s feature element – 4.5m high faceted totems – were engineered to include a host of campus-connective technologies. Sourcing specialist parts from as far as Europe they accommodate live data feeds, external grade screens, CCTV, help points, WIFI access and a near field chip / QR code directing access to the live wayfinding site. This last combination of NFC and QR code was key to providing a cost effective solution to offering a digital wayfinding platform across the campus, by utilising the student’s own handheld technology in place of kiosks.


SUSTAINABILITY

Innovations driven by BrandCulture provided a host of environmental benefits to the project. The use of an online planning and approvals system drastically reduced the paperwork associated with multiple issues of large schedules, giving the ability to collaborate remotely and limit the numbers of meetings and travel required. Built from a central pre-approved database of messages, the content of signage is always consistent, reducing the incidence of typo’s and associated replacements. This same feature also allows instant identification of all instances of a message when destinations move, directly addressing the prevalence of legacy messages across campus. Finally, the adoption of a magnetic slat system and standardised sizing allows the replacement and relocation of destinations to be achieved without the replacement of entire signs. Staff movement is achieved by simply swapping the sign on the door.


INSTALLATION





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