COX was appointed to refurbish the Merewether building at Sydney University which included a new location for the Sydney Knowledge Hub – a multiuse co-share space that links the university to industry. The form of the building was maintained and the interior spaces were reconfigured to deliver an original and innovative connection to the campus and create a new strategic direction for the space, prioritising engagement with the existing campus and the student experience.

Project Name: Sydney Knowledge Hub – Merewether Refurbishment
Studio Name: Cox Architecture
Location: Sydney, Australia
Photography: Nicole England
Completion date: 2019

Sydney Knowledge Hub - Merewether Refurbishment by Cox Architecture - Sheet1
Kitchen ©Nicole England

Fundamentally, colour and materiality were key to the design of this fitout and were used extensively to create passive wayfinding in a building that was difficult to navigate. The Merewether building (built in 1964), was originally a series of university support offices off long central corridors built around an internal courtyard space. Once opened up, the interior spaces were long and narrow, with a promenade of columns lending naturally to a central circulation space.

Sydney Knowledge Hub - Merewether Refurbishment by Cox Architecture - Sheet2
Dining Space ©Nicole England

The building is very disorientating with the 4 long zones that connect around the central courtyard all feeling similar. For easier navigation of the space, colours were assigned to areas to define their functionality. Although general work zones were calmer in their colour application, other zones were made highly vibrant. Yellow indicated collaborative zones, pink was nourishment zones, blue were enclosed meeting areas, and green was additional teaching spaces.

Sydney Knowledge Hub - Merewether Refurbishment by Cox Architecture - Sheet3
Allied Space ©Nicole England

The colour application generally included the floor, ceiling and external architectural wall, and generally extended into the circulation space for clear visibility of alternative spaces as you traverse through the fitout. In addition, the 4 open stairs in each corner of the building were also given different colour treatment. The result was a multi-use space, with easily identifiable functional zones which acted as a catalyst of improving the experience of those working or collaborating in the fitout.

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