The Ainsworth Building is the new, purpose-built home of Macquarie University’s Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, providing collaborative teaching spaces which establish the University’s position as a rising star in medical teaching and learning.
Building on the success of the pioneering engineered timber structure of the Incubator building, the Ainsworth Building comprises four levels of mass timber structure which characterises the architecture with its tonal warmth and subtlety of form.
W-shaped hardwood columns at the entrance are a defining feature that transfer vertical loads to the ground whilst the visually lightweight glass skin reveals the precise geometry of the timber structural skeleton and draws optimal daylight into the interior spaces. At night, the building glows like a lantern, radiating the natural warmth of the fabric within.
As well as providing the structural integrity, timber also adorns the internal spaces, creating a language that is both cohesive and authentic. The biophilic quality of the palette provides a tangible connection with nature and evokes a calm sense of wellness among occupants.
The Ainsworth Building embodies the forward-thinking sustainability and environmental stewardship goals outlined in Macquarie’s Campus Master Plan. Central to the sustainability ambitions of the project was the carbon captured by the timber structure which project engineers, Arup, calculate will save the carbon emission equivalent of five to six years of energy consumption during operation.
Located adjacent to Macquarie University Hospital, the key teaching and learning space requirements of the new building include a 200-seat Lecture Theatre as well as 90-seat Harvard Case Study theatres, and 30-seat Team Based Learning rooms.
Designed to be swiftly realised, the building utilised cutting-edge digital prefabricated construction methods enabled by the multi-level timber engineered structure.
The mass timber components arrived on site just in time to be slotted into place, significantly reducing noise, vibration, and waste which enabled construction to progress concurrently to surgical operations less than ten meters away.
Spruce Glued Laminated Timber (Glulam) has been used for columns and beams. Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) has been used on all floors from Level one, and all core walls (including lift shafts). The external ‘W’ columns are Victorian Ash Glulam which has been locally sourced from Victoria. The only concrete used in the project is the ground floor slab.