Developer: Mirvac Projects
Designer: Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp
Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
By Colin Galloway
Completed in mid-2016 by developers Mirvac, the EY Centre is a 37-storey office building featuring 38,650 square meters of leasable space located in the Sydney CBD.
The building incorporates a wide range of interactive smart features that automate various aspects of its functionality. Daily desk assignments are software controlled, for example, and various interactive technologies are used to measure air quality, power and water consumption, and lift usage.
However, the EY Centre’s most striking feature is the world’s first timber-and-glass closed-cavity façade system, which comprises a building-wide array of wooden blinds fitted inside its double-glazed windows, with a further skin covering the outside surface.
Because it is an enclosed system, the blinds cannot be affected by outside air conditions and are therefore forever free of dust and condensation. In addition, the blinds are controlled by the building’s software system to allow automatic adjustment on every floor (except the top few) for light and temperature control. This allows the structure to be extremely responsive both in terms of control of natural light and its thermal performance, creating a highly sustainable ecosystem that the developer claims has produced a 30 percent reduction in overall heating and cooling costs, together with a consequential uplift in asset value.
The façade louvre system has now been adopted in a number of other projects, though it remains too soon to judge whether it will be embraced on a widespread basis.
Architecturally, the building sports an extremely warm façade, another function of its wooden blind system. The golden façade has appeal for building occupants too, as sunlight filters naturally into the interior. Its warmth is complemented by the tower’s rounded corners, creating what one juror described as the “one of the softest buildings in Sydney”.
The EY Centre was the first in Australia to achieve a Gold WELL certification. Beyond that, it holds 6-Star Green Star Office Design rating, 6-Star Green Star As- Built rating, and 5 Star NABERS Energy rating, making it one of Australia’s most environmentally-friendly buildings.