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8 Chifley, Sydney, Australia

Issue 74 August / September 2013 : Architectural : Facade

ARCHITECT: Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners LIGHTING DESIGN: Arup PHOTOGRAPHY: David Clare First Light Photography

Bringing a splash of colour to Sydney’s CBD, 8 Chifley represents an Australian first for the creative stable of renowned architect Richard Rogers. Arup helped create a suitable nocturnal impact.

Over a career that spans more than 60 years, celebrated British architect Richard Rogers has earned global acclaim for his distinctive style: a desire to democratise architecture often by opening out the infrastructure of a building and placing it on full view. The most famous examples of this approach include the Centre Pompidou in Paris and Lloyds of London, but now, as Rogers celebrates his 80th birthday, there is a new addition to the list: 8 Chifley.

Bringing a splash of colour to Sydney’s CBD, the new 34-storey tower aims to deliver a cutting-edge and highly efficient workplace for the future, combining a distinctive contemporary design, adaptable workspaces, leading sustainability features, and generous civic space.
8 Chifley has been designed specifically for its prominent, north-facing site, bounded by Elizabeth, Hunter and Phillip Streets. Its highly transparent façade, heightened ceilings and legible structure ensure the building enjoys open and unobstructed outlooks and a sense of extensive space and light within. The tower’s exterior includes a number of striking features, such as its red sway bracing and illuminated exterior fire escape, that set it apart from the Sydney norm.

Working alongside architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSH+P) and developers Mirvac, Arup wcompleted all aspects of the lighting design. The original brief focused on the exterior fire escape stairway and the empty ground-floor atrium space, dubbed the ‘reverse podium’ by the architects, but this evolved during the design process into a comprehensive concept that would unify each of the open spaces - the atrium, the 18th floor terrace and the roof terrace - creating an aesthetic consistency that could exist independent of the interior illumination.

A key part of this was the illumination of the red sway frames that form the building’s zigzagging exoskeleton.

Reverse Podium, Level 18 & Roof
To complement the concept of horizontally separated office ‘villages’, Arup worked with RSH+P to illuminate each of the exposed concreted slabs and roof feature with integrated liner LED luminaires. By day these are hidden within the exposed structure, at night they enliven the fabric of the building; reversing shadows caused in the day to create luminous soffits. To complement this, additional metal halide downlights are suspended at high level to illuminate the glass lobby box at ground level and meet design recommendations within the Australian Standards in each area. The inclusion of this more utilitarian layer of light allows the LEDs to be switched off out of hours.

Fire Stairs
From the very inception of the lighting concept, Arup proposed illuminating the coloured structural elements with coloured light, for example, the use of orange light on the orange coloured fire escape. However, to provide safe egress lighting to the stairs, white light was required to illuminate the treads. To solve this, a simplistic twin lamp linear fluorescent lighting solution was developed. Within the same surface mounted fitting, one lamp is sleeved to provide coloured light in ‘normal’ operation and the other is bare to produce white light only. If the fire door is opened, or the building management system indicates a fire alarm, the orange lamp is switched off and the white light is activated thus provided the required illuminance and colour rendering requirements.

Sway Bracing
Following a similar approach, red lighting was specified for the red sway structure, as Arup’s Tim Carr explains: “In the early stages of the project we proposed achieving this with metal halide light sources with filters, however as technology changed, LED solutions became more appropriate and less costly.”

After beginning the process with hand sketches and modelling, the design development proceeded with off- and on-site physical testing of models as the project neared fruition. The team developed mounting locations that created maximum effect for the building and minimal impact on the surrounding environment. This required very close consultation with both the architectural, structural and electrical teams to agree both the mounting details and cabling design.

The primary challenge in illuminating 8 Chifley was maintaining compliance with the design targets for energy consumption and reduction of light spill. “Great lengths were taken through the design process to calculate, measure and predict how a scheme of this scale would eventually perform,” says Carr. “This included full size mock-ups of the sway frames, which were very helpfully built by the local luminaire suppliers to demonstrate to Mirvac that the stringent restriction could be met. Financially the scheme was under consistent pressure throughout the design process, however, through working with Mirvac they recognised the significance that a successful exterior lighting scheme could benefit the night time appearance of both the building and the city.”

In terms of the luminaire selection, the development of LED, in particular the fundamental change in optical, control proved a challenge. “Moving from a metal halide reflector, to an LED lens fitting allowed us to use much more highly saturated light, but the lit effects adjacent to the fitting were very different and created multiple lamp images on the sway frame,” says Carr. “To remove this, bespoke snoots were designed to achieve a more uniform lit effect. This was also an importance component in reducing unwanted light spill onto the building and outside of the site boundaries.”

8 Chifley is now one of the greenest buildings in Sydney. It has achieved a 6 Star Green Star Office Design v2 certified rating representing ‘world Leadership’ in environmentally sustainable design and is committed to achieving a 5 Star NABERS Energy Rating.


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