INTERNATIONAL SARDINES: STUDENT HOUSING FOR USYD

Team: Robert Chan, Tina Chow

The International House sits on an important site on the aze Crescent Precinct Masterplan. The area is categorised as part of a newcultural hub bounded by the new pedestrian Maze Crescent, Wilkinson Building and the Seymour Theatres. The site is seen as the connecting link between
these key areas, harnessing the potential social and cultural vibrancy day and night. It will also become the new ‘gateway’ to the Darlington Campus towards Broadway and the greater CBD.

The ground plane will provide studios and workshops for the Sydney College of the Arts with a direct link to the existing Architecture workshops. The new café, bike hub and other services will be made available to all students and local residents, adding diversity of people to the space. To the east are galleries and bar, combining with the Seymour Theatres to generate daytime and night-time activities throughout the year.

Since its establishment in 1967, the organisational structure of International House has remained relatively unchanged. Housing just 200 students, the International House is seen as out-dated, under-utilised and subject to demolition and redevelopment under the current Masterplan. However, some believe that it holds an architectural character that may be worth saving. The scheme harnesses this character and attempts to resolve several issues inherent to the existing building, including the lack of small-scale communal areas.

A mix of new and old, the existing frame structure sets up the foundations for the new extension of International House. The timber-frame / Cross-laminated timber structure allows for modular construction on six additional levels. The small but efficient bedrooms allow for greater yield for each level than what is existing, yet still providing living-scale communal spaces for each student. Communal areas are organised between the bedroom modules, staggering from one level to the next and generating a continuous network of semi-public space. The cantilevering communal boxes utilise the floor area on each level, allowing for an even higher density of students while maintaining the quality of life.