2018 National Architecture Awards: National Award for Educational Architecture

Macquarie University Incubator by Architectus Educational Architecture: National Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

The Macquarie University Incubator is conceived as a pair of pavilions, each with flexible layouts that lend themselves to the future adaptations and functions of startups. The planning comprises open spaces, breakout areas and private meeting rooms. The brief called for a relocatable building that would accommodate the diverse and changing needs of its occupants, along with a condensed five-month timeframe for construction, all of which the architects successfully delivered.

These imperatives have resulted in a beautifully crafted timber building with a series of spaces that are warm and filled with light. This is a careful exercise in the design and engineering of timber structures, with diaphragms of cross-laminated timber, large-span laminated veneer lumber beams and glulam V columns as well as spotted gum hardwood and cork for the interior floor surfaces, and plywood for the external walls.

Intentionally, the spaces do not prescribe use or function and they maintain a clear ceiling height, resulting in a simple yet elegantly detailed flat roof profile and internal spatial consistency. Operable wall panels facilitate natural ventilation throughout the interior, while the cantilevering roof forms shade double-glazed windows and a building management system provides feedback on the building’s use of energy.

This project represents a new and sustainable engineered timber prototype for portable educational buildings.


Project Team
Luke Johnson (principal), Nick Elias (project leader), Angel Yi Zhang, John Jeffrey (project architects), Hope Dryden (graduate of architecture), Taija Love (student of architecture)
AV consultant Arup
Acoustic & ESD consultant Arup
Architect Lipman
Electrical and mechanical engineer Arup
Hydraulic and fire engineer Arup
Project manager Root Partnership
Quantity surveyor WT Partnership
Structural and civil engineer Arup
Structural engineer TTW Structural
Site Details
Location Sydney,  NSW,  Australia
Site type Urban
Project Details
Status Built
Category Education, Public / commercial
Type Universities / colleges
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