Ainsworth Building, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Macquarie University
The Ainsworth Building is the purpose-built home of Macquarie University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, providing teaching spaces that establish the University as a rising star in medical research. The project embodies the forward-thinking sustainability and environmental stewardship goals outlined in Macquarie University’s Campus Master Plan, with the building estimated to save the carbon emission equivalent of five to six years of energy consumption via the carbon sequestered within the timber frame.
Having designed the award-winning Incubator for the University – where occupants enjoy the fresh air, abundant light, and views over the campus – Architectus carried these elements into the Ainsworth Building’s design. The Building comprises four levels of mass timber structure which characterises the architecture with its tonal warmth and subtlety of form.
The inviting design was conceptualised in harmony with the campus’ native woodland. The 200-seat lecture theatre, 90-seat Harvard case study theatres, and 30-seat classrooms are intended to foster a culture of collaboration among academic and professional staff, promote enquiry, and combine clinical care and integrated teaching with research. While tightly constrained by other buildings, the Building cranks to be perpendicular with Wally’s Walk – the University’s central pedestrian axis. Pedestrians have direct access to two lobbies via an elevated walkway or steps that gently recede under the cantilever to create a striking entry sequence.
Timber adorns the internal spaces to create a cohesive and authentic language. The biophilic palette provides a tangible connection with nature and evokes a sense of wellness among occupants. W-shaped hardwood columns at the entrance are a defining feature that transfers vertical loads to the ground. The high-performance glass skin reveals the precise geometry of the timber structural skeleton and draws optimal daylight into the interiors. At night, Ainsworth glows like a lantern, radiating the natural comfort within.
Photography by Brett Boardman.