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Koichi Takada Architects’ building Infinity in Sydney ‘Climatises’ architecture

A huge opening in the centre of the 20-storey structure creates a natural cooling effect, while the fluid form increases year-round sunlight to the surrounding public spaces.

‘Climatising’ Architecture.

Koichi Takada Architects recently completed a mixed-use residential building in Sydney, Australia, with a design that lets the structure breathe due to its unique architectural loop feature, along with a void in its sun-facing façade.

Commenting on the design of the building that’s named Infinity, firm’s principal architect Koichi Takada says, “Infinity has a hole to cool down the building. Infinity’s inception was started with the idea of creating a significant opening in the building structure to draw in wind, to achieve a natural cooling effect of the internal spaces through pressure differentials”.

A 20-storey structure, located at the corner of Bourke street and Botany Road in Green Square in Sydney, has been built according to Australia’s placement on the meridians and how close it is to the South Pole. The design ensures that the form and architecture support the unique weather conditions of the country.

The building is enveloped by an iceberg effect in an otherwise urban setting. Given the consequences of global warming, the melting icebergs help cool down and curtail the heating within the southern hemisphere. Australia, being close to the South Pole, also receives strong winds and cold fronts from the south-east, creating a polar vortex in Antarctica. While designing, the parallels drawn between the iceberg and the building Infinity are representative of the dynamic relationship between nature and the built environment around it. The idea for the structure was to optimise it according to the location and reverse the effect of global warming, while also combatting the heat island effect in urban areas.

This is what Takada calls ‘climatising’ architecture.

While designing, the parallels drawn between the iceberg and the building Infinity are representative of the dynamic relationship between nature and the built environment around it.
Koichi Takada

While the opening in the building functions as a ventilating factor, it has been implemented to aid the structure in various ways. The aerodynamic form of the building and the opening in the middle serves as an entry point for daylight. It also enhances the user experience and promotes integrity between the building and its surroundings. Infinity has a strategically located swimming pool at the base of the opening so that when there is a gust of wind passing over it, it automatically cools the air and moves it towards the heart of the building, which is a central public courtyard.

Infinity’s design also provides a sense of openness and makes maximum use of the natural light and air around it. By helping the circulation of natural ventilation in and around the building, the opening becomes a key factor that provides overall better air quality in the indoor space and gives the residents thermal comfort. Due to the complex and unusual design of the building, it required a lot of background preparation including simulation tests, wind-tunnel testing and computer modelling to ensure its real-life effectiveness. Given how much natural means of light and ventilation the structure uses, it also successfully cuts down on energy consumption by helping minimise the use of air-conditioning. The design prioritises performance and while the opening is a unique architectural element to look at, it is also a crucial design strategy which improves the conditions of living and is also a sustainable structure for its environment.

The carving and slope of Infinity works to give back much more sunlight to the Public Plaza and Green Square Library, both of which are built below ground and would otherwise be shaded by the building. The south side of Infinity has a terraced apartment structure designed with cascading apartment houses that have external terrace gardens. This way, there is increased solar access, the apartments facilitate cross-ventilation amongst each other, and there are systems for rainwater collection as well.

The partly residential and partly commercial building for Crown International Holding Group shares itself equitably amongst its residents and has communal gardens for social interaction between people. Infinity includes 325 apartments, 75 boutique hotel rooms, a 450-seat conference centre and more than 30 retail, food and beverage spaces with a total floor area of 39,000 sqm.