CW: This article contains mentions of violence towards First Nations and Māori people.
The University of Sydney’s plan to demolish the Wentworth building and build a much larger replacement is likely to be completed by the end of 2027, according to an internal University meeting held on Monday.
While there is currently no approval to proceed with the demolition of the Wentworth building, Greg Robinson, Chief University Infrastructure Officer, said it is projected to be completed in late-2025, with construction of its replacement projected for late-2027.
The meeting heard that Wentworth’s eventual replacement would aim to be the campus’ main student hub, with new retail options, space for commercial floors that would be a large expansion of the Uni’s existing partnerships with industry and a new home for the School of Architecture, Design and Planning (ADP).
It remains unclear which industry partners will occupy the new building, with the University Executive to make the final decision. When asked by Honi, the University failed to rule out the permanent physical presence of existing partners such as Rio Tinto, or weapons manufacturer Thales, in the new building.
“Macquarie University is probably the benchmark of what we’re looking to imitate, with the creation of a ‘town centre’ for the university,” said Robinson, noting that “although as a much bigger campus, our [‘town centre’] would be more distributed.”
According to the two retail studies undertaken by the University, students are seeking more culturally diverse food and drink options, with affordability another key consideration in the eventual delivery of new outlets. The University’s awareness of the latter comes in the wake of the failure of food trucks on campus in Semester One because of their high prices, and the substantial increase in the amount of students accessing FoodHub this year.
There will be car parking in basement levels of the new building, which will also house the ADP, that has outgrown the Wilkinson Building, according to the University. It was suggested that the Wilkinson building could then be amalgamated with the old International House in future developments.
Given concerns about the effect of the construction on the student experience, the University stressed that the Wentworth Building’s existing facilities will be replaced by pop-ups and a medley of other options in the short-term. During the construction, the International Student Lounge, food and drink vendors, Hermann’s Bar, the Students’ Representative Council and FoodHub, will all require new homes.
Students have long called for the renaming of the Wentworth Building, which was named after William Wentworth: whose landownings saw him become a key player in the dispossession of First Nations and Māori people, and who supported the massacre of First Nations people. With the University and the USU having thus-far refused to strip Wentworth’s name from the building, it is unclear what name the future development will be given.