2018 National Architecture Awards: National Award for Educational Architecture

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Macquarie University Incubator by Architectus.

Macquarie University Incubator by Architectus. Image: Brett Boardman

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.

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