Jacobs with Smart Design Studio

This design for the Rail Operations Centre (ROC) unites Sydney Trains’ operations in a purpose-built, flexible centre, providing the organisation with a new identity built on the iconography of infrastructure construction. The building was designed as a transformative workplace. Simple, modern, flexible warehouse-like office spaces are linked by a series of spatial ‘events’, where employees can interact and come together.

The form of this building is the result of its function and its purpose. The functional requirements were clear and Smart Design Studio’s design meets the block and stack diagram by Jacobs, achieving 9300 square metres of gross floor area. However, the purpose of the building is related to the transformation that Sydney Trains has embarked on, moving beyond adequate and operational to embrace a culture that is customer-focused and committed. As a critical hub of the railway infrastructure, the building must support a culture of excellence, greatness, enthusiasm and pride for Sydney, New South Wales and Australia.

Following an extensive exploration of the program, Smart Design Studio’s conclusion was that the ROC is best located at the top of the building where it has access to controlled natural light and is most secure. This resulted in an ‘inverted pyramid’ building, where protected voids are created below the continuous column-free ROC. From the street, the ROC appears raised into the air by the twinned red brick arches on the street facades.

Referencing not only the colours and natural formations of the Australian landscape, but also the stations and bridges of the Sydney Trains network, the arches unite the spaces of the building with a singular identity. The arches in the north and east facades spanning 64 metres and 45 metres respectively. The commonplace nature of brickwork and its familiar texture have been used as a counterpoint to the extraordinary scale of the architectural gestures that define this building’s identity.

Photography: Ross Honeysett & Martin Siegner.