The brief for this project was initially to design sustainable student housing within the University of Sydney campus. However, this project begins to address the issues of sustainability on a much broader scale by questioning the current culture of development by posing a conceptual scenario whereby buildings are no longer demolished, they are simply augmented. This process of continuous addition not only eliminates the loss of embodied energy that results whenever a building is demolished, but it reduces the amount of waste material from demolition, and begins to address the issue of urban sprawl by resulting in a vertical urban typology, as opposed to the horizontal spread that Australian cities are becoming infamous for.
The location of this project on top of the faculty of Architecture and Design at the University of Sydney also enabled us to consider the relationship between student living and study environments, as well as looking at the augmentation of professional contact by combining other artistic, design and construction faculties, such as the Sydney college of the arts, with the faculty of Architecture.
The design proposal is perceived as the first stage in a continuous process of addition, whereby the new mass above the existing building houses small capsule apartments that function as the living spaces for students, as well as open plan, communal studio spaces. By consolidating the studio spaces within the new mass, we were able to effectively re-program the existing building, bringing in new programs such as rentable spaces for small start-up design offices, creating opportunities for employment and networking for the students, as well as retail outlets that would service the living requirements of the students. The addition of further exhibition spaces and increased workshop facilities would also ensure the building would become a unique, state of the art centre for art and design within Australia.