Construction has commenced at the new Smart Design Studio headquarters. Located in the North Alexandria Conservation Area, the re-imagined warehouse will accommodate the whole team in one light-filled space. The purpose designed office will allow for a materials library, a workshop and ample meeting spaces. A canteen and breakout zones, and amenities such as bike storage and showers will also ensure a high quality work environment.
The sawtooth roofs, trusses, façades and floors will be retained throughout, with the exception of the western street frontage. For the new construction, materials in keeping with the existing built form will be used in a contemporary way. The brick façade will peel back to create windows, doorways and awnings, while fine galvanised steel-framed windows will emulate a continuous façade with barely visible openings.
Large full-length clerestory windows will enable light to play a starring role in the single work space, divided by five linear desks for the specialist teams. There will be pin boards on all four sides, and elevated shelves between desks allowing for a collection of study models and materials. A new stair will be supported by cables forming balustrades and echoing the structural trusses supporting the roof.
Over the work space, a live/work space will run the length of the site. It will be made from four self-supporting brick catenary vaults, offset from each other to allow light in. SDS has 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 will be on the interior architecture created by stacked bricks and gradations of light.
The goal is to achieve a six Greenstar rating with the design. A considered approach will keep waste to a minimum during construction and in operation. The building will be energy-positive with 225 roof mounted Photo-voltaic panels, and all materials have been selected for their embodied energy, harm to the environment and reuse opportunities. Efficient fixtures and building automation will ensure energy efficiency and air conditioning will be replaced by radiant underfloor heating and cooling, ceiling fans and natural cross-ventilation.
To be known as Stokes 14, the landmark warehouse conversion will be finished in 2019.
SMART DESIGN STUDIO ARCHITECTURE FROM THE INSIDE OUT