8 Hadenfeld Ave, Macquarie University, NSW 2109 Australia
The Macquarie University Incubator aims to amplify and imbue deep thinking around innovation, bringing together entrepreneurial spirit, ingenuity and collaboration. The Incubator was conceived as a pair of pavilions, each with flexible layouts lending themselves to future adaptations with the facilitation of collaboration being the underlying principle of the Incubator.
The ultimate aim of the Macquarie University Incubator is to physically manifest Macquarie’s University’s renowned innovation in place and space. The facility will be known as an incubator of ideas, a place of intense pursuit and competition, a place of support and collaboration. It will be a vehicle for the University’s engagement with industry, government, not-for-profits and entrepreneurs.
Innovation hubs are social communities, mainly in the form of a physical work space or research centres, and providing subject related expertise, knowledge, and funding with the purpose to enable innovation.
The Incubator was conceived as a pair of pavilions, each with flexible layouts that lend themselves to the future adaptations and functions of the startups inside. A strong driver was the need for collaboration and interaction between individual startups and with each other, in addition to privacy for each startup to operate as its own business. With this in mind, we created open spaces and breakout areas, and smaller, private meeting rooms.
Timber was selected as the main construction material for its capacity to be beautifully engineered and swiftly fabricated to a high quality. The majority of components were prefabricated offsite to ensure rapid construction and minimal disruption to the concurrent university semester. 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 remain permanently in its current location.
Sustainability was also an important factor in the design of the Incubator, so the building explores principles of passive environmental control, such as operable wall panels to facilitate natural ventilation through the interior, cantilevering roofs to shade the double-glazed windows from excessive solar radiation, electricity generating solar panels on the roof and a monitoring system that provides feedback on the building’s use of energy. The rainwater runoff from the roof is also reticulated through the surrounding landscape for irrigation.
The Incubator is a dramatic demonstration that Macquarie University is facilitating societal advancement through partnerships, through research, through invention and through high quality architectural design.