Little change in daylight hours throughout the year and direct sunshine creates both a challenge and an opportunity for building envelopes or window treatments. While slick glass facades capture daylight and spectacular views, it may come at the cost of heightened energy consumption. A bank in the CBD uses semi-transparent blinds, curtains and skylights to maximize natural daylight and achieve a five star energy efficiency rating, despite the amount of glazing.
Working with Heritage
Conversions of historical buildings are popular along the harbour. Working spaces have been introduced in vacant warehouses, port buildings, semi-detached or terrace houses from British colonial times. While conversions often inspire creative transformation, they sometimes come with challenges in their use. A warehouse adaptation with limited windows in the front creates a high contrast lighting situation.
In another conversion, a historic storage space used by the Navy has been transformed to house artistic organizations. Though the open plan provides sufficient natural light and flexibility for artificial light, staff lack privacy and are disturbed by noise of a nearby wharf and navy base. What materials could enhance acoustics while promoting light distribution?
Located near the Sydney harbour in another warehouse conversion, an architecture firm attains a powerful connection to nature with floor-to-ceiling windows that seamlessly bind working environments to the harbour. Unaffected and calm views of the waterfront result in a positive image of the firm for employees and visitors alike. Water and light from the outside are drawn into the office to enhance people’s sense of wellbeing and clarity. In this firm the main challenge might be keeping the staff from taking too many breaks near the pier.
In the case In the case of a landscape architecture firm, the choice of materials influenced the general atmosphere and the light profile of the office space. While reflections on polished timber floor caused disturbance, they brightened the long, narrow space with natural light only at both ends. Their design solution was to matte white wall surfaces to avoid glare.
White surfaces, integrated furniture and art define an engineering firm office in one of Sydney’s high-rise buildings. Smooth surfaces result in a minimalistic, yet elaborate interior environment that simultaneously helps staff focus and relax. Despite the feeling of luminosity and accessibility, employees thought colour and texture could liven slightly clinical atmosphere of the whitewashed office.