The new student quarters for Boston University by Tony Owen Partners and Silvester Fuller Architects at 15-25 Regent Street, Chippendale is a unique design using fissures to provide maximum solar access to bedrooms as well as natural ventilation throughout the building.
The eight-level, environmentally-efficient building has been designed to house overseas students visiting form Boston University for a semester in Sydney. It can contains 164 beds as well as a care-taker suite. It also has three lecture halls, a library, an Internet lounge, a rooftop terrace with a timber deck and an adjoining fully-equipped communal kitchen, plus cafe. The unique module houses 4 single bedrooms for every shared lounge and bathrooms.
The concept design was by Silvester Fuller and was development through subsequent approvals, documentation and to completion by Tony Owen Partners. Construction was by Ceerose Pty Ltd.
Arup Partners provided the environmental analysis. The design uses large canyon-like slots in the façade which allow sunlight and ventilation to penetrate deep into the building and into each room.
The windows in these slots have a rhomboid shape to maximize efficiency, and deliver a bold architectural façade which is illuminated at night through an ever-changing light show. The windows are oriented to trap sunlight whilst ensuring privacy between rooms,
The end walls of the slots are made from glass louvers that are seven storeys high, and the building also contains a seven-storey glass louvered atrium. “Air is drawn through the canyons and passes through the building like gills. It is drawn up through the central void and out the top to ventilate corridor areas, thus allowing the building to breathe naturally.
East-facing operable louvers on each level further help to lower ambient temperatures by drawing in fresh breezes. The design allows more light and ventilation into each bedroom, provides good views, and is a sensible model for residential density in the CBD.
At the same time the design is a sensitive infill for a constrained urban site. Regent Street contains a number of heritage buildings. The facades utilize masonry to create a contemporary contextual response that is still contemporary. Colour is used on the ground floor structure to celebrate the student life in the street. The corner of the building is set back in the northern corner to widen the lane way. A café and outdoor seating is located here to enliven the lane way and create an ad-hoc public space.
At night the fissures are lit up at night. This will be programmed with changing colours to create a permanent light installation. A 7 storey light installation called ‘fluid dynamic’ is being installed in the central atrium.
A large central stair fissure direct visitors to the below ground theatre and lounge spaces. This fissure has a fractal roof and as well as being a ceremonial entry, helps draw light down into the building. The fractal roof is repeated in orange Perspex in the café.