The Smart Design Studio headquarters has been opportunity to test out new ideas. Located in the North Alexandria Conservation Area, the re-imagined warehouse accommodates the whole team in one light-filled space. The purpose designed office has a materials library, a workshop and ample meeting spaces. A canteen and breakout zones, and amenities such as bike storage and showers also ensures a high quality work environment.
The sawtooth roofs, trusses, façades and floors have been retained throughout, with the exception of the western street frontage. For the new construction, materials in keeping with the existing built form have been used in a contemporary way. The brick façade peels back to create windows, doorways and awnings, while fine galvanised steel-framed windows emulate a continuous façade with barely visible openings.
Large full-length clerestory windows enable light to play a starring role in the single work space, divided by five linear desks for the specialist teams. There are pin boards on all four sides, and elevated shelves between desks allowing for a collection of study models and materials. A new stair is supported by cables forming balustrades and echoing the structural trusses supporting the roof.
Over the work space, a live/work space runs the length of the site. It is made from four self-supporting brick catenary vaults, offset from each other to allow light in. SDS partnered with the University of Technology and Northrup Engineering to develop this innovative construction technique among others. With little outlook in this industrial area, the focus is on the interior architecture created by stacked bricks and gradations of light.
The goal was to achieve a six Greenstar rating with the design. A considered approach kept waste to a minimum during construction and now while in operation. The building is energy-positive with 225 roof mounted Photo-voltaic panels, and all materials were selected for their embodied energy, harm to the environment and reuse opportunities. Efficient fixtures and building automation ensures energy efficiency and air conditioning has been replaced by radiant underfloor heating and cooling, ceiling fans and natural cross-ventilation.
SMART DESIGN STUDIO ARCHITECTURE FROM THE INSIDE OUT