Lab 265 in pictures: From Concept to Reality
Lab 265 at The University of Sydney’s School of Electrical and Information Engineering has recently undergone a dramatic refurbishment. The original 1970s concrete and brick laboratory space is now a state of the art teaching facility incorporating the latest technologies combined with a dynamic learning environment. The existing space was redesigned to accommodate 72 students and teaching staff. The laboratory exhibits a fresh, iconic identity while still being highly functional technically and space-efficient in its design. An important objective in the architectural design according to Colin Brown from Arena Design was to “humanize what had been a very dated and overtly technical environment.”
Thirty-six work benches are gathered in back-to-back groups of four to allow space for two students to work together. The benches are laid out at right angles to the northern window wall, allowing a natural connection to the landscaped courtyard outside. In addition to the standard multimeters and power supplies, the benches are equipped with a Tektronix mixed signal scope providing 100 MHz sampling for 2 analogue channels and 16 digital channels; a Rigol 40 MHz 100 MS/s arbitrary waveform generator, and National Instruments (NI) Elvis II+ electronics system with NI Circuit software and Labview software. In order to ensure that the extent of the electronic equipment in the laboratory does not overwhelm the clarity of the layout, a bold colour aesthetic forms a contemporary response to the stark character of the space and adds an aesthetic dynamism.
The theme of sustainability in design and execution permeated the project so that workbenches from another laboratory were relocated to Lab265 with a series of yellow joinery panels inserted at the ends provide definition to the circulation pattern within the lab. The existing parquetry flooring was refurbished to retain the natural texture of the laboratory and further humanize the space.
The laboratory boasts a five metre ceiling height which allows for the insertion of an impressive dropped ceiling focussed over a major learning and teaching breakout zone. The central presence of the breakout zone encourages students and staff to work collaboratively at a circular table. This zone is overlooked by the main teaching work surface, dubbed Mission Control during the design process. The main teaching platform houses an interactive audiovisual demonstration bench which can beam images of live experiments to each student’s PC workstation and to the main audiovisual screen within the laboratory. Spaces of a more cellular nature are located at the Eastern end of the lab including the Foyer & Display, Storage and Technical Offices.
All Photographs © Arena Design Architects P/L with full permission to use for publicity and publications.