APRA building: the retention of the simplicity and rawness of the existing warehouse building has been achieved, while providing a comfortable, stimulating and healthy environment for both the employees and members of APRA

Smart Design Studio took out two awards at the NSW Architecture Awards 2009, with two separate entries.

One was a project for the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) by Smart Design Studio won the Milo Dunphy Award for Sustainable Architecture. Interestingly the client chose not to have the building Green Star rated, instead investing this cost in its project.

[See related story A Jury’s Roadshow by Genevieve Lilley]

The Jury’s citation:

The owner-occupants of this project, the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA), embarked on the process of delivering new premises as a result of an approach from a developer to acquire the building they had previously occupied. This unexpected opportunity led to APRA buying a former warehouse building in Ultimo, which was developed in two stages.

The first stage involved a base building upgrade to the five-storey brick warehouse, which is of heritage significance. Smart Design Studio provided broad design input to this first stage, which was followed by stage two, a detailed fit-out that fleshed out the refurbished shell.

The jury was impressed by the evident processes that arose from the client and their architect continuing to develop the design brief from first principles, which involved both changing workplace cultures and embracing a long-term ownership perspective.

Thus a brief evolved that, in many ways, embraced sustainable design, although these requirements were developed from the consideration of specific long-term needs and goals, rather than an initial intent on behalf of the client to deliver a ‘deep-green’ building.

Apart from the adaptive re-use of the building, which conserved a useful resource and adapted it intelligently to a new function, a well-considered array of specific initiatives were adopted. The retention of the simplicity and rawness of the existing warehouse building has been achieved, while providing a comfortable, stimulating and healthy environment for both the employees and members of APRA.

The building achieves a clever balance between working and multi-purpose breakout and conference spaces to be used by employees and members alike

The new building is a five-storey brick warehouse in Ultimo, Sydney, with existing timber framing throughout.

The works were performed in two stages – an initial base building upgrade, followed by the fitout works, resulting in over 4000 square metres of office and related space with:

· 95 per cent of staff in open plan workstations

· a series of breakout spaces for informal discussion across each floor, as well as enclosed meeting rooms where privacy is required

· a four-storey void through the building as well as frameless clear glass offices and meeting rooms encourage transparency and aids communication and interaction

· noisy functions such as tea-making facilities and printing are grouped together to encourage interaction.

At the same time as addressing change, the project has reinforced the organisation’s cultural identity, not only in the location and nature of the building, but in maintaining the company’s primary goal of serving its members.

This resulted in:

· a strong ESD agenda through all aspects of the project, which translates into lower running costs and a healthy workplace

· a modest approach to materials and finishes, with respect to the project budget and the raw palette of the existing warehouse building

· a clever balance between working and multi-purpose breakout and conference spaces to be used by employees and members alike.

The following outlines the main ESD initiatives which were employed in this project:

· a displacement air-conditioning system with natural ventilation mode

· sunshading installed over the north and east-facing windows, with external blinds fitted to west facing windows. Internal blinds further reduce glare for occupants

· use of natural lighting and minimal artificial lighting via flexible DALI control, all areas controlled by motion sensors, energy efficient lighting sources & light coloured finishes stormwater collection and re-use

· bike storage facilities and showers for use of employees

· an existing stairwell on the north side of the building has been opened up to each floor and provides an alternative to lift travel

· Greenstar approved finishes and locally made products have been selected where possible

· reporting on waste disposal was required throughout the construction phase

· a Building Management System (BMS) has been installed to ensure a good level of interface and record of the building systems’ operation.

Throughout the project, decisions have been made based on the long term ramifications relating to APRA’s ownership of the building such as maintenance, running costs, longevity of finishes, as well as the organisation’s primary goal of service to its members.

Throughout the project, decisions have been made based on the long term ramifications relating to APRA’s ownership of the building such as maintenance, running costs, longevity of finishes, as well as the organisation’s primary goal of service to its members

Economical and durable materials have been used extensively to ensure the project budget was adhered to, whilst the extensive application of ESD initiatives will produce longer term rewards.

It remains to be seen what value can be placed on the increased efficiency that will result from the new environment.

Project team

WILLIAM SMART, ANITA PANOV, VICTORIA JUDGE, STEFANIE LOEB, MARIE BURGESS,

UTA WOLF, RICHARD STOREY, TROY MELVILLE & EDMUND SPENCER

construction

2006-2009

consultants – base building

SERVICES BRIEFING DOCUMENTS: ITC

ESD BRIEFING DOCUMENTS: ARUP

D&C SERVICES REVIEW: MEDLAND METROPOLIS

LIGHTING DESIGN: ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING DESIGN

consultants – fitout

SERVICES : MEDLAND METROPOLIS

LIGHTING DESIGN: ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING DESIGN

STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: VAN DER MEER CONSULTING

consultants – general

PROJECT MANAGEMENT/ADMINISTRATION : MULLER PARTNERSHIP

CLIENT REPRESENTATIVE: QUADPLEX

construction – base building

KINGS PROPERTIES WITH ONE BUILD PTY LTD

construction – fitout

ICHOR CONSTRUCTIONS