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Gear, Ryde, Australia

  • Status: ALLDesign
  • Date: 2016
  • Client: City of Ryde
  • Countries: Australia 
  • Typology: Cultural  Hotel  Living  Mixed-use  Offices  Public Building 
  • Size: <100.000m² 

As architects and urbanists, we believe that Ryde did not develop properly with a well-balanced structure that’s why finding an appropriate solution for such a difficult urban condition was not an easy task. The chosen site is located right on the border of where this big change in scale happens. On one side we have the huge shopping mall while on the other side the scale suddenly changes to small single-family houses.

Therefore, our first task was to define which scale should be used to restore the balance. Primarily we decided to develop an identification element for the city and a place to meet and improve the life of its citizens. We created the “main body” of intervention following the volume of shopping mall but by lifting it off the ground we created a large public space underneath the building, providing shade and noise protection. The landscape is designed to integrate with the building and the functions melt into each other. The extensive greenery and building itself provide enough shading to be used even during the hottest summers.

The two housing towers are meant to be seen from the distance, to create a new identity and meeting point of the city. Furthermore, they are detached from the main body to provide additional semi-public space on the roof of the civic centre which can be used for various activities like sunbathing, barbecuing, enjoying an afternoon with your friends or just taking a walk.

The flats are positioned above the offices to provide a new point of view for the people of Ryde. The whole building aims to become the new identity of the city and increase the overall quality of the area.


The energy concept is based on passive and active measures to reduce the main energy consumption for cooling, artificial lighting and ventilation. The shape of the building is oriented to provide self-occlusion in summer and solar energy in the colder months. Adaptive and active facade systems support the use of daylight, shading and energy production via Seasonal Thermal Energy Storage systems.
Concrete is utilised as an energy production and storage material to reduce the power usage for cooling during hot days. The concrete surfaces can be temperature controlled to provide a comfortable climate situation for the occupants all year round.
Thermal energy is generated by using the ground water with a suction and an injection well. The heat pump system produces cold water for cooling in the summer and can also be used to produce domestic warm water for the apartments.
Building surfaces are used to produce electric power with Building Integrated PV Systems (BIPV). A Smart Grid control regulates the consumption of solar electric power and uses the thermal storage to save the solar power to cool down the building during the night. Electric cars and bicycles are used as mobile storage for surplus solar energy.
The apartments are ventilated naturally. The fresh air is thermostatically controlled via the activated concrete before reaching the apartments. Rotating wind turbines placed on the roof are used to extract the exhaust air.

A hybrid ventilation system supports the offices with fresh air in the lower floors, the occupants are able to open the windows during calm days. Shops, offices and the multi-purpose event hall are supplied with a mechanical ventilations system. The fresh are is temperature controlled in an earth temperature exchange system around the basement of the building. The rate of air exchange is reduced to the minimum hygienic level and will be monitored and controlled within CO2 sensors.