In the 1950s it seemed that the only solution to the University’s need to grow significantly while yet confined to its original allocation of space was multi-storey buildings. The new buildings along Royal Parade for the medical sciences began the trend which staff architect, Rae Featherstone continued in the Redmond Barry and the Raymond Priestley buildings.
While there had always been at least in theory some form of overarching planning for the site, in reality developments were haphazard - more the result of professorial bargaining power and the allocation of Australian Universities Commission money for capital works than broader considerations. A new approach was evident in Featherstone’s shift towards interior renovation and sympathetic additions to old buildings, such as the new Council Chamber and Undercroft which filled in the south side of the Quadrangle building.
The appointment of Sydney Architect Bryce Mortlock in 1968 to produce a Master Plan heralded a new found commitment by the Central Administration to effectively manage further development. The Plan was approved by the University Council in 1971.
Subsequently revised and supplemented by a Landscape Elements Report (1974) this Master Plan, as architectural historian George Tibbits, observes 'is not only still the University's active planning control but is seen also as the means by which most parts of the University grounds were transformed during the 1970s and 1980s into a garden of many contrasts. This is because the principles in the Master Plan emphasised the spaces between and around buildings as much as they were concerned with where the buildings should be located.' Among the more notable features of the Master Plan was the creation of the South Lawn above a vast vaulted underground car park.