Text description provided by the architects. The School of Information Technologies building (SIT) transforms a derelict site adjacent to one of Sydney’s major arterial roads into a new campus gateway. It also sets a new benchmark for the University of Sydney with respect to environmental initiatives and excellence in the provision of contemporary workplace and teaching environments.
The building is a sophisticated integration of multimedia, technology, communication, architecture, arts, landscape and ecology. It evokes a strong sense of identity for the school and the university as a whole, and projects a contemporary image of technology, openness and engagement with the campus and wider community.
On the north side of the building, a layered glazed facade counteracts the noise and pollution of Cleveland Street and a unique ‘frit’ within the glass minimises solar gain. These create appropriate indoor workplace conditions whilst presenting a contemporary image of transparency and interaction. On the south, a curved stainless steel facade integrates a unique perforated metal screen to protect against unwanted solar gain and glare. The building’s unique form allows for the creation of generous landscape zones for passive recreation and ‘extend’ the use of the building into adjoining campus areas.
SIT is predominantly a building accommodating the contemporary workplace environment of the School of Information Technologies and allied private industries. The building lends itself to a mixture of individual offices, collaboration areas and open-plan work spaces — mirroring those typically encountered in private enterprise. Excellence is sought in providing state-of-the-art work environments with a particular emphasis on health and sustainability, collaboration and interaction.
The floorplate is configured as two wings about a central atrium and interconnecting stair. Social hubs are located within the naturally ventilated atrium / support zone and aids in knowledge transfer through informal interaction and meetings.
A holistic and integrated approach to sustainability was developed with reference to the Green Star Office Rating Tool. The building uses active chilled beams to provide an energy efficient approach to environmental control as well as furthering a commitment to health and productivity, and individual task lighting is provided to reduce levels of ambient light.
The main foyer is centred within this atrium allowing the extension of Engineering Walk into the School and visually connecting Cleveland Street. Vertical connections are located within the foyer, facilitating easy access to upper levels and interconnecting the public facilities. Each level has a “bridge” connecting the eastern and western sections across the Engineering Walk axis. The building incorporates a strong commitment to sustainability.
The form developed to foster links with Engineering Precinct, Seymour Centre and external environment. The form constitutes a layered facade along Cleveland Street (a buffer to the noise and pollution). This is broken at the Engineering Walk axis to visually connect the precinct with the neighbourhood and announce the main entrance, then extends to the west to embrace the Seymour Forecourt. To the south, the building’s curved stainless facade incorporates a screen to refine the proportions and assists in controlling glare. This creates zones for passive recreation and extends building usage to the adjoining campus areas, and forms a new forecourt to the adjacent Seymour Centre.
Environmentally Sustainable Design
The building sets a new University benchmark, with respect to environmental initiatives and excellence in the provision of contemporary workplace and teaching environments. Design intent has been benchmarked against the GBCA GreenStar office model. Although the rating initiative currently only exists for offices, the University showed great vision in adopting it for the project and achieved a 4 star GreenStar credit rating, placing the building within the top quartile of ESD office developments within Australia. Below are listed some of the many initiatives:
Holistic and integrated approach providing a new benchmark in sustainability for the University
Approaches and initiatives developed with reference to the GreenStar Office Rating Tool
Active multi service chilled beams with enhanced ventilation provide throughout all offices and open plan workspaces
Mixed mode mechanical ventilation, through the use of automated louvers providing natural air flow in the large atrium spaces
Natural ventilation provided to central atrium and social hub collaborative zone
Glazed interconnecting stair creating a ‘vertical street’ to reduce reliance on lifts
Enhanced access to natural light and view
PVC minimisation and use of recycled materials
Sophisticated layered glazed facaded and integrated external shading to control solar gain
Reduced levels of ambient artificial light by incorporation of individual task lighting
Considered material selection in relation to embodied energy and whole of life costing analysis
Incorporation of solar hot water, energy efficient fittings and zoning
Incorporation of bicycle parking and shower/change facilities