Macquarie University Incubator

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  • 2018

  • Architectural Design
    Commercial and Residential

Designed By:

  • Architectus

Commissioned By:

Macquarie University

Designed In:

Australia

The Macquarie University Incubator aims to amplify and imbue deep thinking around innovation, bringing together entrepreneurial spirit, ingenuity and collaboration. The Incubator is a demonstration that Macquarie University is facilitating societal advancement through partnerships, research, invention and high quality architectural design.


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  • The Macquarie University Incubator is place for start-ups to evolve their ideas and grow their businesses, the designed had to respond to the diverse and changing needs of its occupants, as well as two key aspects that informed the design of the space; a relocatable building and a short timeframe for its implementation. Timber was selected as the main construction material for its capacity to be beautifully engineered, swiftly fabricated to high quality, and its potential for future dis-assembly and relocation, with the majority of components prefabricated offsite ensuring rapid construction on site and minimal disruption to the university semester.

  • The Incubator was conceived as a pair of pavilions, each with flexible layouts that lend themselves to the future adaptations and functions of the start-ups inside. A strong driver was the need for collaboration and interaction between individual start-ups and with each other, in addition to privacy for each start-up to operate as its own business. With this in mind, we created open spaces and breakout areas, and smaller, private meeting rooms. The Incubator is designed to be 100% reusable, sustainability was key to the design approach; selection of materials; fabrication of timber cassettes; and installation of the structural system.

  • The Macquarie University Incubator aims to amplify and imbue deep thinking around innovation, bringing together entrepreneurial spirit, ingenuity, collaboration and support. Conceived as a pair of pavilions, the Incubator provides flexible layouts that lend themselves to the future adaptations and functions of the startups inside. The resulting building was completed within five months of construction commencing, and despite flexibility and relocation being a strong factor of the original design brief, the Incubator has become so well loved that it’s likely it will now remain permanently in its current location.

  • Sustainability is at the heart of the services strategy, the Incubator is naturally ventilated, the Building Management System monitors heat loads and carbon dioxide levels. High level windows operate automatically to ensure that thermal comfort and fresh air supply are maintained. Supplementary heating and cooling is delivered via trench convectors which mitigate heat loads through the facade glazing, ensuring temperature ranges of 19-26 degrees. The adopted natural ventilation strategy in conjunction with conventional measures, including a well-insulated building envelope, performance glazing and LED lighting switched with motion sensors. ensures low running costs. The photovoltaic system supplies approximately 65% of electricity required for operation. The roof is constructed with timber glulam beams, glulam columns and CLT diaphragms. The timber roof cassettes and floor cassettes system increase productivity, reduce site construction times and improve operating safety during the construction process. Steel was used in place of concrete for the foundations, as the superstructure is relatively light. Timber floor beams are directly connected to steel screw piles to form the foundation structure. As steel can easily be reused, it benefits cost, construction time and ESD practices. The Incubator is designed to be 100% reusable therefore, sustainability was key to the design approach.