Eureka architects’ parametric living facade of the Ryde Civic Centre is an outstanding eye-catcher. Situated 12 kilometers from downtown Sydney, the architects were driven by several green parameters like resource efficiency and ecological integration. The green building behaves like an ecosystem and is more reminiscent of a parking facility. Situated between the thriving west Ryde neighborhood and the largest commercial center in town, this design proposal blends the two contrasting sides of the city.
With its functional, natural and topological synthesis, Ryde Civic Centre combines natural space, civic functions as well as public realm. It is anything but a monotonous and homogeneous architectural proposal. The varying combination of administrative, residential, commercial, exhibition, event and open public spaces together with a renewable energy plant integrated into a natural system reminiscent of an all-in-one package.
“The interface between ground and building presented possibilities that we wanted to reinforce through exchanges in water, energy and biology.” Eureka says. “We did not want to reduce any single system or program to any given moment but achieve a continuous of topological strategy which refrains from separating elements.” Eureka added.
The topographical character of the site led the architects to collect, store and guide rainwater with an integrated series of ponds. Additionally, grey water will be collected to provide as much as possible water for the irrigation of the park and green facade.
“The constructed wetlands took advantage of the existing topography and maintained a direct relationship with residents and the adjacent neighborhood.” Eureka emails. “As we developed a holistic approach, we realized that optimizing our design and integrating a PV system with an efficiency of 19% would allow us to collect 152,598 kWh per year, with a typical unit using about 5,600 kWh per year.” Eureka states.
With its soft curves, the north facades reinforce the natural flow of biological systems from the ground to the building facade. It is possible to reduce the carbon footprint by using a living wall system. Due to the freedom of the facade’s natural growth and the integrated irrigation system, the façade will turn out to be a dynamic response to climate weather and the interaction between a selection of plant species. Furthermore, the living wall system increases the insulation value. But also an improved air quality, noise damping and natural beauty contribute to well-being in many ways. On the other hand, maintenance overhead for this type of facade should not be underestimated.
“…our design would provide the city of Ryde with a unique approach to synthesizing natural systems, an iconic relationship to nature and resources, and a direct response to density of use within its urban fabric. The city is made up of life and all elements should be treated as irreducible as we continue to discover the connectivity of all systems. The new Ryde Civic Centre maintains this approach and derives an iconic language from it, for all its residents to experience.”