Hayball, Sydney

Designed by: Hayball Architects, Interior Design in association with Bettina Steffens
For client: Hayball Floor area: 450.00 M² Year of completion: 2017
Submitted for: Small Office of the Year

Public Score
3.24 Function
3.20 Innovation
3.19 Creativity
7 Surry Hills Studio Hayball Frame 2018 Brett Boardman3
© Brett Boardman

The southern plywood wall incorporates a library and kitchen space concealing a back of house resource area. The large kitchen island is a central focus for the studio community bringing staff together for morning teas, lunches and evening drinks.

About the Project

Hayball’s new Sydney studio is located on the ground floor of a five storey brick building in the thriving heart of Surry Hills. High ceilings and exposed concrete floors, still with remnants of dye stains, provide hints to the buildings industrial past as a former shoe factory. This backdrop, juxtaposed with the insertion of two striking plywood walls on opposite sides of the tenancy reflect the ethos in which the space was conceived - an intertwining of old and new and an enabler for a cultural shift in practice.

Inspired by a core focus of Hayball’s portfolio, the education sector, the fitout reflects the parallel evolution of contemporary learning environments, in which a more diverse landscape for learning and working is enabled. Embedded within the plywood walls are a range of different settings from individual pods, booths for focussed group or individual use, informal collaborative spaces, a whiteboard room for brainstorming, as well as more traditional enclosable meeting rooms.

Mobile technologies untether staff from traditional workstations giving them choice in how and where they work. This flexibility, in tandem with the warmth of the fitout’s natural palette creates both a dynamic and comfortable environment for staff, in turn making it an engaging and inviting space for collaborators, clients and the wider community.

What’s unique about it

The Hayball Sydney studio differs from a typical architectural office in which staff workstyles are limited by the confines of their workstations. The design reflects the outcomes of a co-creation process where all staff were engaged to collectively develop the brief for the new studio. Core to the brief was the desire to create a space which supported a shift in practice to a more collaborative and welcoming workplace. Similar to Activity-Based Workplaces (ABW), the Hayball Sydney studio adopted an ‘agile’ working model to provide workers with a range of options for how and where to work, reflecting an array of possible tasks from collaborative to more independent and reflective.

As an evolving national practice, the Sydney studio is intended to act as a prototype for the design of future offices in Melbourne and Brisbane. As a prototype, it will inform in both the overall and detailed design of future offices, but also in relation to how to enable practice change required to optimally inhabit new typologies of workspace. This will be measured through a collaborative Participatory Action Research project between Hayball, the University of Technology Sydney, Monash University and acoustic company Ecophon, with results intended to be published to enhance the knowledge of the broader community in relation to innovative workplace design.

6 Surry Hills Studio Hayball Frame 2018 Hayball Sydney Studio 4
© Lachlan Brookman

The southern plywood wall incorporates a library and kitchen space. This accommodates a range of uses from independent work to small meetings, presentations and larger functions.

8 Surry Hills Studio Hayball Frame 2018 Hayball Sydney Studio 5
© Lachlan Brookman

A loading dock adjacent the studio offers direct access to the maker space. Model making materials and 3D printers are tools to support the design process. Running parallel to the southern wall, a series of sliding screens provide additional whiteboard space.

2 Surry Hills Studio Hayball Frame 2018 Hayball Sydney Studio 2
© Lachlan Brookman

The studio’s central location adjacent to a range of community sporting facilities promotes opportunities to engage in recreational activities enhancing staff well-being. Staff participation in these activities has resulted in enhanced collaboration.

3 Surry Hills Studio Hayball Frame 2018 Brett Boardman2
© Brett Boardman

A room with writable whiteboard walls and floor is used for brainstorming and synthesis of ideas. This doubles as an engaging space for children to play when they visit. Other child friendly settings within the studio enable staff, collaborators and clients to relax.

4 Surry Hills Studio Hayball Frame 2018 Hayball Sydney Studio 3
© Lachlan Brookman

Mobile technology enables staff to be untethered from traditional workstations to access the range of settings throughout the studio. Booths provide retreat from the main space for both collaborative and reflective work.

5 Surry Hills Studio Hayball Frame 2018 Brett Boardman1
© Brett Boardman

The building’s industrial shell forms the backdrop to two striking plywood walls on opposite sides of the tenancy. The familiarity of natural materials including timber and leather make people feel at home.

1 Surry Hills Studio Hayball Frame 2018 Hayball Sydney Studio 1
© Lachlan Brookman

The two enclosable meeting rooms in the studio allow a variety of functions enabled by the flexibility and agility of furniture. Adjacent to a casual fireside meeting space, a custom designed ping-pong table doubles as a boardroom.

Location of project:

Bettina Steffens

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