City Rd, despite being heavily trafficked, is still very much in touch with its past, with an interesting and eclectic mix of early- and mid-century buildings. These encompass the grand (The Institute Building), humbler terraces and handsome commercial buildings. The sweeping slopes of the park on one side, the human scale of the buildings on the other, the occasional leafy set-backs, the distant spires of the University and the soft curves of the road, help to lift the section of City Rd (between Parramatta Rd and Carillon Ave) out of the ordinary.
Come 2020, under the proposed Campus Improvement Program, the University wants to replace, inter alia, the Merewether, Wentworth and Wilkinson buildings as well as International House.
The proposed replacements could end up as a monoculture of tower blocks. The City Rd campus frontage is only one part of the extensive concept plan (currently being assessed by the Department of Planning) which would see building heights go up from a current maximum of 8-9 storeys and some heritage buildings come down. Other heritage buildings, despite being retained, are in danger of being overpowered and overshadowed.
The University is seeking approvals for the heights, locations and envelopes for the proposed buildings; the actual designs will be exhibited at a later date. The CIP is planning to achieve a 68 percent increase to the University’s Camperdown-Darlington campus floor space by the end of 2020. This will accommodate a 21 per cent increase in students on campus as well as 4000 units of ‘affordable’ student accommodation.