‘Self-replicating’ advanced manufacturing research facility proposed for Western Sydney

25 November 2021

David Rowlinson

It will be a place where government, research institutions and industry will lead research and product development in areas such as defence, space and aerospace, construction, energy and mining.

Hassell’s design aims to reveal some of the advanced manufacturing processes taking place, allowing the public to engage with the facility while not compromising on functionality. A central spine will be open to the public at all times and will have the potential to hold large events.

The building will be designed to be flexible and adaptable into the future, with the timber structure constructed using prefabricated modular components mechanically fixed together “like a kit of parts.”

“…it has the ability to expand in the future, even ‘self-replicating’ using the advanced manufacturing hall to construct its own mechanical fixings used to bind the structure together,” Hassell states in planning documents. “At the end of the building’s life it can easily disassembled, and relocated to a new site.”

The site is located on Dharug Country and the design aims to respond to Country and connect the building to the broader landscape, context and history.

“Collaboration with Daniele Hromek from Djinjama laid the foundations for a design response that listened to Country and in turn produced an architecture that is unique to this place,” states Hassell.

The building’s columns will be articulated to reflect surrounding clusters of trees, while the “canopy” of the roof will catch water for a richly planted, landscape of local species and water features, celebrating “the meandering and ephemeral water of the Cumberland Plain.”

“Architectural expression is soft with no sharp edges, responding to this being women’s place and the ideas of water and fluidity,” state the architects. The building will eventually be given a Dharug name.

NSW minister for Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said the building would represent an exciting first step for the airport city.

“The design shows what a high-tech, shared-use hub will look like,” he said.

“The first building will house share-use advanced manufacturing equipment for research institutions and partners to translate ideas into products for manufacture in the Western Parkland City. Visitors will see that this is a place of advancement, collaboration and learning.”

The development application is on public exhibit until 12 December.

Article first appeared in Architecture Australia

Photo of the author: David Rowlinson
David Rowlinson

David hails from Lancashire, England and has lived in Australia since 1994. He studied Architecture at Sheffield University and also has an MBA from Macquarie University and a Master of Marketing from UNSW. Prior to joining Planet Ark in 2016 David was Marketing Manager then CEO of a major Sydney-based manufacturer of modular carpets used in all commercial building applications. His proudest achievement was the development of an industry-leading environmental sustainability agenda, including the unique Earthplus product reuse program.

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