The project is located in the Norwest Business Park, Bella Vista Precinct, Sydney, Australia. The existing building is a conventional warehouse with an open office area on the top floor. It needs to be converted into the headquarters of an enterprise specializing in health products.
The enterprise makes 100% natural/ green products to improve people’s health and wellbeing. We wanted to make its new home renovation also a ‘green’ solution to positively impact on the environment of its community.
After discussing with the client, we got to know that the floor area is far more than required for office use. We can create more amenity area to improve the employee’s wellbeing.
We decided to renovate the building in a way of creating inspiring spaces. And within those spaces, greenness and sunlight became the dominating ‘material’ and the building’s new signature. The building itself becomes a vibrant ‘bio-island’ (just as how the company’s products are entitled) among regular office buildings in the area.
The footprint of the existing building is about 50X50 meter in each direction. It is not ideal for office use. We decided to carve out a big volume in the central area, where natural light and air can hardly reach, from the existing building mass. By doing so, a central garden full of sunshine and greenness is created and surrounded by office spaces all around. The depth of interior office spaces is reduced to the appropriate level, and natural ventilation and day lighting in all working areas are easily achieved.
The central garden area is used to be the double-height warehouse. There is not much structure to be removed. The columns and beams on top of the warehouse space are kept to become sky-bridge system above the garden where people can easily walk around.
Inside the central garden, local vegetation covers part of the ground horizontally, as well as part of the façade vertically, making this ‘void’a substantive 3-dimensional oasis, a green lounge enjoyed by everybody.
Open air stairs, balconies and the sky-bridges connect spaces on different levels, promoting horizontal and vertical movements. This central garden space is for people watching and being watched. It is a core space where everyone felt being connected within a community.
In order to connect the central garden with the larger landscape outside the building perimeter, we decided to free part of the ground floor into semi-outdoor space or colonnade. Between the indoor and the outdoor, a series of shaded open air spaces is created for outdoor dining, outdoor exercise, VIP entrance, etc. The floating gesture also provides view corridors on the entry level in different directions. The ‘greenness’in the central garden permeates into the surrounding environment, making the whole site an enlarged garden.
Besides the central garden, there is a series of gardens of different scales and styles throughout the entire building, such as the Zen Garden next to the meditation area, the sky garden on the second floor next to the executive club, etc.
A thin sheer of perforated metal skin is applied around the perimeter of the building, giving an elegant veil and a holistic identity to the otherwise lack-of-feature original building. The perforation of the skin varies according to the interior functions behind. If the space does not require much day lighting, the skin in front appears rather opaque (or transparent). However, if there is a major office area behind, the skin will provide more perforation to allow enough sun light in, while providing highly efficient solar shading at the same time.
On the façade in each direction, there is a major tubular-formed puncture through the depth of the interior space to serve as view portal; giving people clear glance of the gardens on both sides.
The portals usually positioned in the area of good Feng Shui, as the identification and extension of high quality spaces. Special material such as wood finish is applied to define these special spaces.
The design adopts a series of green design strategies:
1. To make the building thin to promote natural ventilation and day lighting;
2. Voids in the building to promote air flow to create a pleasant microclimate. Air intake at the floating ground level, hot air outlet at top of the central garden;
3. Massive solar photovoltaic panel installed on roof top to save energy.
Studio A+ was founded by Ms. Min Wang in 2007.
STUDIO A+（ARCHITECTURE + INTERIOR + LANDSCAPE + PRODUCT） is a young and vigorous design team aiming to provide innovative architectural, InteriorArchitectural, Landscape Architectural, Industrial and Product design solutions for clients. By its name the studio covers multi-disciplinary areas yet specializes high quality comprehensive design solutions. Studio A+ completes architecture and a better life by the means of design.
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