The Sydney School of Entrepreneurship is an unprecedented partnership between 11 NSW Universities and TAFE NSW- and is housed in a substantial brick art deco building located within the TAFE ULTIMO Campus.
Originally a shoe factory, the 3 storey building has retained many of its original features including steel framed windows and a unique end grain timber block floor.
SSE was designed by MAKE Creative, a multidisciplinary studio based in Sydney. Working closely with the school, MAKE designed a unique learning environment and a thriving platform for future entrepreneurs. With flexible spaces accommodating varying class sizes and configurations, the school can be reconfigured to enable intimate classes of 20 to grow to lectures of up to 250 people.
MAKE developed is a pared back and contemporary interiors scheme, reworking the site with a series of clean and minimal insertions revealing the character and detail of the existing building fabric.
Aligning to the existing structure of the building, MAKE tucked plywood joinery into existing window bays and framed the main classroom space with a sculptural seating platform.
Dark lobby spaces were opened up to bring in daylight and maximise visibility and connection – with a new lounge space designed to accommodate a busy events program. MAKE designed a system of robust and flexible furniture – ranging from Deco inspired lounges through to mobile screens and staging systems.
The detailing takes its cues from the existing Art Deco features –the fluted copper façade reinterpreted in solid timber dowelling used throughout. Repeated circular motifs in the doors and joinery echo the distinctive circular awnings, and evoke the strong geometrical forms of Art Deco ornamentation.
Questions and Answers with MAKE
Key products used:
We retained existing materials where possible including the stunning timber block floor, and glazed pub tiles. Birch plywood joinery was the main material used in the fitout.
What were the key challenges?
Working with the existing architecture presented many challenges – however, the integration of exposed services in the existing spaces was the biggest. The sheer volume of services required for the school required careful consideration to balance the visual impact in the various spaces.
What was the brief?
Beyond its online platform, SSE’s space needed to create a framework for an interconnected school community with a diverse range of students from multiple backgrounds, disciplines, demographics and locations. The dynamic character of the school meant that the fitout needed to be ultra-flexible, enabling intimate classes of 20 to grow to lectures of up to 250 people.
Who are the clients and what’s interesting about them?
The Sydney School of Entrepreneurship is an unprecedented partnership between 11 NSW Universities and TAFE NSW- allowing a new generation of entrepreneurial thinking to thrive, and connecting students from across NSW.. SSE alumni will be recognised by their contribution to making our society and our economy richer. Richer in fulfilment and in creating a healthier sense of achievement and in fairness for the society around us.
The SSE does this by cultivating the conditions for raw talent to learn, work hard and thrive. SSE brings together unique people of diverse disciplines and backgrounds, places and skills. The SSE works to create extraordinary opportunities: Connecting student entrepreneurs with masters, thinkers with tinkerers and leaders with dreamers. Methodologies collide: bringing together fresh approaches and thinking from all over the planet to create new models, new businesses and new industries not conceived of before.
The success of the school will be seen through the success of its student entrepreneurs. In the pivotal moments they help create. Not only for themselves, but for our entire state.
What are the sustainability features?
The design of SSE was based on sustainable principles- retaining existing finishes of the building shell where possible – exposing the existing ceiling structure, retaining the woodblock flooring and glazed tiles. Access to natural light was also prioritised, with large new openings created in the building lobbies. All built insertions were kept minimal, and low tech, predominantly natural materials were used throughout.