Architecture is often reliant on expensive and scarce materials to define its value. The Beehive explores how an undervalued waste product, like the ubiquitous terracotta roof tile can be redefined and revalued.
Located in the centre of Sydney, Australia, recycled tiles have been built into a complex rhythmic Brise-soleil that mediates the sun and wind. The faÌ¤ade design was largely conceived through multiple full scale tests and hand built prototypes, opening up a tactile process of rapid prototyping, and experimentation. Each tile course is placed based on its function. The acute course was used at the bottom due to its strength, as well to obscure the solid spandrels. Equilateral tiles were used at eyelevel to reduce visual obstructions. While diagonal tiles were used at the top due to their low clearance. The faÌ¤ades curves around a paperbark street tree which encroaches the site and links the misaligned neighbouring buildings.
Internally the building houses a light-filtered architecture studio designed as an environment to stimulate creativity and teamwork: a Beehive of architects. Challenging the generic and often alienating nature of open plan office buildings, the design sought to provide an active but intimate environment with multiple working positions. The main space is defined by two linear rows of semi-enclosed booths, linked by a long linear standing bench which facilitates collaborative work.
On the top floor, a communal garden terrace offers a point of release to work in the sunshine, hold community events or relax after a long day. Below this level, the conference table is semi-enclosed by a terracotta tile bookshelf. This was a conscious attempt to re-contextualise the value of reusing materials, advocating for more sustainable solutions by showing clients and the wider public that it is possible to reuse waste products from the construction process.
Callum Coombe , Jeffrey Blewett , Jim Miliotis GroundUp Building Pty Ltd, Luigi Rosselli , Luis Molins Calvet , Raffaello Rosselli