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Koichi Takada Architects Completes Iceberg Inspired Mixed-Use Building in Sydney

‘infinity’ is a mixed-use residential building that’s articulated by a huge, hollowed-out corner. designed not only for aesthetic appeal, this carved opening in the middle of the structure creates a natural cooling effect, therefore reducing energy consumption.

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. this creates an iceberg effect in a highly urbanized setting. melting icebergs are a result of global warming. they are also known to help cool down and slow the warming in the southern hemisphere. due to australia’s proximity to the south pole, australia receives strong winds and cold fronts from the south east – a polar vortex which starts in antarctica.’

takada continues, ‘the parallels between the iceberg and infinity represent the tension between nature and the built environment of our time. architecture can be designed with the ability to reverse the effect of warming and the heat island effect in urban areas. our responsibility as architects and designers is to optimize the building performance by taking advantage of its locations and forms. we call this ‘climatizing’ architecture.’

infinity is located in sydney’s fast-growing ‘green square’ neighborhood. the prominent corner plot sits adjacent to a public plaza and library and boasts a direct connection to the green square train station. the building rises 20 storys high and comprises an extensive program of 325 apartments, 75 boutique hotel rooms, a 450-seat conference center and more than 30 retail, food & beverage spaces.

the aerodynamic form and large opening in the middle of the building serve as an entryway for daylight and natural ventilation while enhancing the experience of end-users and influencing how the building integrates with its surroundings. infinity’s large outdoor swimming pool is situated at the base of the opening, and when the wind passes over this large body of water, it cools the air and drives it into the heart of the architecture – a central public courtyard. in this way, infinity is designed to breathe.

by facilitating natural ventilation throughout the building, the opening becomes a key component in providing better indoor air quality and thermal comfort for the residents and reduces energy consumption by minimizing the reliance on air-conditioning. the complexity of the design required exhaustive simulations, wind-tunnel testing and computer modeling to ensure the performance goals were realized. the building prioritizes performance and while the opening creates a unique architectural appeal, it becomes an important design strategy that improves not just the living conditions, but a sustainable contribution to the built environment.

infinity is carved in a particular way so that the fluid form increases year-round sunlight to the surrounding public spaces. compared to the originally designated massing allowance for the site, the carved and sloping form gives back much more sunlight to the public plaza and green square library, built below ground, that would otherwise be shaded. a terraced apartment structure on the south side is designed with cascading apartments that have external terrace gardens. it is designed to allow better solar access, the terraced apartments facilitate cross-ventilation, rainwater collection, equitable apartment mix appealing to a wider socio-economic group, as well as communal gardens for social interaction.