Sustainability & Environmental Technology

Completed in December 2019, Stokes 14 comprises the adaptive reuse of a Post-War single storey industrial warehouse, into commercial and residential uses across a 3624 sqm site.

The project is situated within the North Alexandria Industrial Heritage Conservation Area, which forms part of one of the largest known collections of industrial and warehouse buildings of its kind in Australia. The retention and adaptation of the existing building was therefore the springboard for this innovative project.

Most of the original building fabric was retained and restored, including brick facades, sawtooth roofs and steel roof trusses. The heavily modified offices along the western frontage were demolished and rebuilt to suit new functional requirements. New construction employs similar industrial materials however these elements are all elevated in their expression and detailing.

The key innovation was to transform an existing warehouse into a carbon neutral building, targeting a six-star NABERS energy rating. This started with the premise to retain over 80 percent of the existing footprint, minimising material supply and wastage.

Sustainability features include 260 roof-mounted photovoltaic solar panels with battery storage, creating an energy positive building. Air-conditioning is replaced with natural ventilation, coupled with radiant hydronic underfloor heating and cooling and ceiling fans. Rainwater is harvested for reuse, and water-efficient fixtures and building automation ensure energy efficiency. Materials were selected for their embodied energy, harm to the environment and reuse opportunities.

The project has been a successful business development tool in attracting new clients, and interest in the design has led to much media coverage and shortlisting in industry awards.

Every project has challenges to overcome and Stokes 14 was no exception. The self-supporting catenary vaults of the Caretaker’s residence required an innovative construction methodology which was developed, prototyped and tested before construction. Creating a commercial building without air conditioning was another feat.

Judges Comments

The judges were incredibly impressed by the overall approach to sustainability and environmentally technology at Stokes 14. Smart Design Studio have gone above and beyond in their approach, putting their money where their mouth is, the result is an amazing proof point for why their clients should be creating commercial offices which utilise these sorts of progressive technologies.

The project perfectly illustrates that a low carbon building can be well designed while also being an extremely pleasant environment to work in.

The smart building technology which automates windows according to climatic conditions and uses natural ventilation and radiant underfloor heating and cooling in place of air conditioning was particularly impressive, as were the 260 roof-mounted photovoltaic solar panels with battery storage.

The retention and restoration of the original fabric of the building not only minimising material supply and wastage but also adding texture and character to the building. It was clear to the judges that every element and material used had been carefully chosen to ensure it’s sustainable credentials.

The judges also liked the consideration given to end of trip facilities which encourage walking and cycling to work; something which is not only beneficial for the environment but which also contributes to employees physical and metal wellbeing.

The judges considered the standard of the project to be outstanding and a benchmark example of sustainability solutions for commercial offices.