Sunswift Garage, the new home of Sunswift Racing at the University of NSW, disrupts the expectations of a typical university space. The multi-functional facility operates as a showcase space, a venue for industry events, a research and teaching laboratory as well as an automotive workshop.
Sunswift Racing is an innovation hub redefining the future of sustainable transport through the research and development of solar electric vehicles (EV). The garage is a re-fit of two existing 250sqm teaching laboratories on the Kensington Campus.
A showcase for sustainable technology
Visibility, light and transparency are key drivers for the design. Located in a highly visible position at the main entrance to the Kensington Campus, the garage successfully provides a new home for the Sunswift Racing Team and allows wide engagement with world leading trans disciplinary engineering. Small interventions to the building fabric, including operable glass façade allows the space to transform and connect with surrounding pedestrian areas and the campus.
Colour and material selection are used to express the values of renewable energy. A palette of ‘electric blue’ and ‘bright white’ reference lightning bolts and have a strong association with EV cars. The glass walls of an internal store room are lined with translucent blue patterned decals and backlit, creating a glowing ‘beacon’ within the space. Paired with bright white ceilings, walls and joinery, the space radiates luminosity and technological innovation. LED strips highlight the workshop area and the cars, slowly changing colour to catch the eye of passers-by.
Flexible and Sustainable
The fit-out is flexible, durable and is underpinned by sustainability principles. Most items are on wheels, facilitating a layering of potential uses within the space. A range of highly technical requirements such as advanced fire suppression, three phase power, electric charging points and retractable overhead services are cleverly articulated. As a facility for the research and development of solar EV technologies, Sunswift Garage embodies the transition to a sustainable future where vehicles are clean and renewable.
Careful consultation with key stakeholders including representatives from Sunswift Racing, the broader university and consultants ensured both the design meets the aesthetic, functional and technical brief.