The brief: Design and Engineer the flagship store and office headquarters of an online bookstore. The company wishes to connect its staff with its customers in order to provide a 'human face' to associate with its customer base and create a dialogue with the greater community. In addition, the considerations of the BCA and all relevant Australian Standards apply. The given site is 99-107 Chapel Street in Darlinghurst which is set to be demolished in the near future.
3 key principles were used to guide the design:
Connectivity, Transparency and Intimacy
Taking the initial massing, the slab face was pushed back to allow for a transparent and through-looking atrium facing the street, connecting the inside and outside, as well as two faces of the building.
The pods were then pulled out from this face to create more intimate spaces within the building, utilising the facade to create transparent, yet intimate spaces.
The design features an atrium with cantilevered pods and accentuated stairs across the facade. The atrium along the street facade is important as it is a gesture of transparency in the operations of the company, as well as an invitation extended to the public to come inside - creating a sense of place.
The pods also function as landings for the accentuated stairs to regain some floorspace that is lost from the inclusion of the atrium.
Each floor is designed to allow the staff and customers to share lunch, reading, casual meeting and quiet room pods as part of the retail/office floor, fostering an intimacy between the faces of the company and the members of the community. This also creates a transparency of workflow of the company's operations, which creates trust with the customers.
The structure is comprised of 2 below-ground levels of carparking using a concrete band-beam system and post-tensioned concrete slabs, and 4 above-ground levels using a braced steel frame with a reinforced concrete shear core to resist torsion and german-engineered kielsteg timber flooring.
The use of steel and engineered wood products promotes a prefabricated structure that is adjustable and reusable for future use, extending the building's lifespan and reducing the carbon footprint associated with construction and demolition which account for almost 90% of emissions during the building's life-cycle.
An innovative parking layout was employed by restricting circulation to a helical one-way lane, allowing us to fit two rows of parking every level. From this, were were able to determine the optimal position for the building core.
The structure was tested in Microstran to ensure the columns, beams, core and cantilevered pods were sufficiently serviceable and safe according to Australian Steel and Concrete structures standards. Rods were used to tie the pods back to the structure and resist the overturning moment.
The glass and timber slat cladding on the western face reduces glare and is backed by a buffer zone of internal balcony areas with metal grated floors. This allows the sun to heat up the facade and the layer acts as a solar chimney which projects hot air out of the top of the structure whilst pulling cooler air in from the ground. The balcony area also doubles as a planting, seating and reading area.
The wire mesh and vines on the ground floor serves as outdoor seating for the cafe that breaks out into the main book sales and event space.
The Northern elevation accentuates the facade and building core whilst promoting a visual transparency through all levels of the building.
Includes conceptual development, programmatic relationships and schematic layout, floor space area requirements, sustainable building features, structural systems, plan, section, street elevation and perspective drawings, and engineering analysis and calculations.