Innovative Workspace Design for Macquarie University
Macquarie University was established in the 1960s on a greenfield site north west of Sydney. The campus grew quickly evoking the times through modernist forms and heavy brick and honest concrete materiality. The academic offices were closed solid wall environments.
Two of the earliest structures on the campus were buildings E7A and the adjacent E7B separated by a pedestrian thoroughfare that had become known as a dark, windblown negative space.
The vision for the refurbishment of the Faculty of Science & Engineering E7A Building was to reinvigorate the buildings, acknowledge the heritage, free up the bottleneck circulation, open up collaborative engaging spaces, and seamlessly connect the campus.
The opportunity of refurbishing the 8 story E7A building presented the idea of creating a glazed socialised atrium space connecting the adjacent E7B. The buildings have been revitalised and improved to gain at least another generation of life. The project has realised a real time sustainable narrative.
Now the solid wall environment has been broken down to create an engaging, transparent environment for academic exchange.
The 3 story, light filled Link Atrium creates key connectivity from the Eastern Road frontage through to the Central Courtyard. In doing so it reinforces and reinvigorates an established Master Plan linkage with new visibility and activated spaces. The Atrium creates a consistent, unifying space and has a positive impact on the culture and environment of the Macquarie University Campus.
The design process has been a collaborative team approach by NBRS Architecture. Andrew Duffin, Design Director, helped create the light filled linkages and architectural language as a backdrop to the functional solution. James Ward, Stakeholder Engagement Director, created interactive working sessions where ideas could translate into design solutions. Our team of dedicated Architects delivered a complex building and the Interior Design team led by Hung Ying Gill created spaces of choice for academics and students.
The Atrium design has created multiple outcomes:
- A new glass transparent face to the Central Courtyard bringing colour and dynamics to the outdoor space.
- Reinvigorated space between buildings E7A and E7B creating a socialised activated and protected space tying together the existing infrastructure.
- Better multi levelled and seamless connections between E7A and E7B.
- Arrival faces of the Link Atrium clearly announce a sense of entry and navigation.
- Maximisation of sustainability opportunities for natural ventilation and harnessing solar energy.
- The material palette adds to unifying the campus. The strength of colour acknowledges the University’s logo.
The refurbishment design of E7A has created the following outcomes:
- Increased the existing usable floor space by extracting service elements (lift, wet areas, fire stairs & plant) from the floor plate of E7A. Freeing up valuable floor area has allowed better utilisation for the spatial planning.
- Provision of five work space modes in a modular arrangement incorporating both office & open plan layouts. These assist with the ease of re-configuration, the complexities of populating individual floors & unifying the amenities within the faculty.
- The centralising of communal spaces & meeting facilities to maximise opportunities for collaboration, development of community, social integration & the exchange of ideas.
- The design allows E7A to meet the criteria for acceptance as a Grade A Office Facility in line with Guide to Office Building Quality requirements set by the Property Council of Australia.
The project creates a seamless protected connector to the horizontal plane of the campus. It is a sustainable solution. It creates a continued use of substantial infrastructure. Spaces have been shaped to serve the academic faculty as well as an activated socialised transition space used to pause and study or interact.