Infinity has a cooling effect on a heated discussion
Infinity is a mixed-use residential building, located at the corner of Bourke Street and Botany Road Green Square, Sydney. The 20-story building includes 325 apartments, 75 boutique hotel rooms, a 450-seat conference centre and more than 30 retail or food & beverage spaces. It has a direct connection to the Green Square train station and adjacent to the Public Plaza and Green Square Library. Completed in 2020, the building has a floor area of 39,000-square meters.
Koichi Takada says:
“Infinity has a hole to cool down the building. Infinity’s inception was based on the idea of creating a significant opening in the building structure to achieve a natural cooling effect of its internal spaces. It would create an iceberg effect on a highly urbanised setting. Melting icebergs are a result of global warming, but are also known for cooling down and slowing warming in the southern hemisphere. The parallel between the iceberg and Infinity is the tension between the fractured nature and built environment of our time. The impacts of climate change are becoming increasingly evident. The built environment is uniquely placed to either hinder or amplify its impact. Architecture must inspire positive change.”
Designed to breathe
The aerodynamic form with the hole draws air into the courtyard and facilitates natural ventilation through pressure differentials. Infinity’s large outdoor swimming pool is situated at the base of the hole, and when the wind passes over this large body of water, it cools the air and drives it into the heart of the architecture, a central public courtyard. Infinity is designed to breathe. By facilitating natural ventilation throughout the building, the opening becomes a key component in providing better indoor air quality and thermal comfort for the residents and reduces energy consumption by minimising the reliance on air-conditioning. The complexity of the design required exhaustive simulations, wind-tunnel testing and computer modelling to ensure the performance goals were realised. The building prioritises performance and while the hole creates a unique architectural appeal, it becomes an important design strategy that improves not just the living spaces, but the sustainability of the built environment.
Shaped by light
Infinity is carved in a particular way so that its fluid form increases year-round daylight access to the surrounding context. Compared to the originally designated massing allowance for the site, the carved sloping form of terraces gives back much more natural light to the Public Plaza and Green Square Library, built below, that would otherwise be shaded. A tiered apartment structure on the south side is designed with cascading apartments that have external terrace gardens. It is designed to allow solar access to apartments, facilitating cross ventilation, rainwater collection, equitable apartment mix for wider socio-economic groups and communal gardens for social interaction.
Infinity belongs to a time pre-covid, a time of infinite possibilities. Global experience and new technologies brought a freedom to how we design and shape our buildings around their context. The design appealed to an international audience, representing the spirit of our time today. But, in today’s post-covid, Infinity marks the end of an era. We are now design with invisible forces and architecture has to adapt accordingly and dig deeper. Regenerative design now needs to take priority over a freedom of expression.