Sydney Nanoscience Hub

Lead DesignerArchitectus
Design TeamRoss Styles, Ray Brown, Robert Ousey, Andrew Tattersall, Ivan Ip, Annika Brokamp, Selina Ernel, Lian Cronje, Dan van de Wydeven, Martina Novakova, Zainab Tinwala, Darrin Rodrigues
PrizeArchitectural Design / Educational Buildings

The Sydney Nanoscience Hub (SNH) provides world class facilities to meet the demanding requirements of nanoscience research, the only building in Australia to house such an advanced research capability alongside comprehensive undergraduate and postgraduate teaching facilities. Accommodation comprises high performance laboratories, academic workspace, teaching facilities and informal student learning environments. SNH is located within a sensitive precinct adjacent to the heritage listed Physics Building at the University of Sydney. It responds to its context by recessing itself into the site - extensive accommodation is buried underground – whilst expressing its purpose in an overtly modern yet sensitive manner, its reflective glass façade mirrors and complements its heritage context to enhance the precinct environment. SNH continues the lineage of courtyard spaces that characterise the Camperdown campus. A new ‘Physics Courtyard’, the social and intellectual heart of the precinct, is symbolically created on the Wilkinson Axis between SNH and the Physics Building. A green roof covers the most sensitive laboratories, removing footfall vibration from and stabilising the temperature of the research spaces below. SNH segregates research and student activities in a manner that appropriately controls access to selected areas of the building whilst allowing for controlled visual and physical connections into the most interesting research environments. The 11,000 m2 facility provides a variety of work settings to carefully balance conflicting requirements between academic and research environments for deep thought and contemplation and those for communication and collaboration. Breakout areas are stacked vertically among circulation and link areas to provide spaces where researches can meet and collaborate. The precise, flush glass skin with staggered horizontal frit pattern is an interpretation of the research and nano-fabrication activity occurring within the building. The singular, reflective surface mirrors the adjacent heritage buildings whilst providing enticing views of the research activities within.