The Ark project is a sculptural insertion into a new building at UTS that converts an under-utilised basement area into a busy informal learning space.
The design brief emphasised the need to attract students and create a space for them to be able to work privately or in groups and to encourage them to stay on the campus during no-contact periods. It needed to provide comfortable resting spaces and plug-in points for mobile devices with plumbed refreshment point and audio-visual connection.
The available space was awkward in shape and affected by two changes in floor level via two ramped sections of floor, making conventional furniture solutions ineffective.
The design engages with a strongly designed base building through a shared geometry but introduces recycled timber as a material that softens the hard unyielding architectural finishes. Occupying a basement floor the design has taken a form that is powerful and eye-catching but invites entry and engagement. The primary building material is recycled timber, emphasising UTS’s sustainability charter. Minimal lighting has been introduced and no changes have been required to pre-existing air conditioning. There is no full-height enclosure, however the space is clearly zoned and categorised.
The installation was largely pre-fabricated off-site, has minimal connection with the building and is easily removable.