Final rendering of the proposed development

GroupGSA used Sefaira as a design tool to test, iterate on and develop their concept for a competition entry. The brief required the redevelopment of an existing ten-storey residential building and the design of two additional six-storey blocks in Sydney, Australia. The proposal needed to comply with ambitious code requirements, particularly the State Environmental Planning Policy 65 (SEPP65). Within the three week timeline, GroupGSA wanted to submit a successful proposal and also illustrate that the building would achieve the daylight performance required by SEPP65.

Project Details

  • Project type: Three-week competition program
  • Location: Sydney, Australia
  • Building type / program: Residential retrofit & development
  • Floor area / stories / occupancy:  GFA 23476m2/3 buildings/10 stories existing building and 2 X 6 story new buildings
  • Performance Baseline: Australia’s SEPP 65 requirements for the design of new apartments
  • Performance Goal: To achieve a 70% + solar compliance rating between all three buildings

Performance criteria

The code in question sets out guidelines for developing apartment buildings in a contextual, energy efficient and human conscious way. It requires, among other things, that 70% of all living spaces in new or retrofit developments receive a minimum of two hours of direct sunlight, specifically between 9am and 3pm in winter months. In application, it means that residents can receive light and warmth, avoid relying on artificial lighting and heating, and thereby improve energy efficiency and quality of life.

How they did it

After creating the initial design concept, the competition team set out to test its daylight performance against the SEPP65 requirements. Using Sefaira’s Daylight Visualisation tool in Revit, they were able to identify areas in the floor plan that did not meet the criteria. They discovered that only 30% of all living spaces in the scheme received the stipulated two hours of direct sunlight.

Sefaira Daylight Visualisation showing that only 30% percentage of the floor plan receives daylight for up to 2 hours on June 21st

Sefaira Daylight Visualisation showing that only 30% percentage of the floor plan receives daylight for up to 2 hours on June 21st.

To improve the daylight levels in the affected spaces, they iterated on their facade design and reworked the layout of the living room spaces. This iteration increased the percentage of direct sunlit time to 40% but more still needed to be done to achieve the 70% goal.

Sefaira Daylight Visualisation showing that only 40% percentage of the floor plan receives daylight for up to 2 hours on June 21st.

Sefaira Daylight Visualisation showing that only 40% percentage of the floor plan receives daylight for up to 2 hours on June 21st.

Next, they tested a window design that angles away from the facade plane, exploring the daylight benefits and how it would impact the facade aesthetics.

Proposed angled windowProposed angled window

Rendering showing the aesthetics created by the angled window

Rendering showing the aesthetics created by the angled window.

Result

It turned out that the angled window created the right aesthetic for the proposal. It created a varied and interesting facade, gave the required amount of light and captured key views of the neighbourhood – but how much of an impact did it have on the performance goal? GroupGSA discovered that the newly designed facade gave them their 70% goal for all living rooms.

Sefaira Daylight Visualisation showing that 70% percent of the floor plan receives daylight for up to 2 hours on June 21st.

Sefaira Daylight Visualisation showing that 70% percent of the floor plan receives daylight for up to 2 hours on June 21st.

Confident in their design and armed with proof of its SEPP65 compliance, the design team were able to submit their concept well within the deadline. National BIM Manager at GroupGSA Anthony Habashy said, “Using Sefaira on this project helped us resolve some key design issues and meet the Apartment Design Guide requirements.” The Group GSA team collaborated closely with Sefaira to shape the SEPP65 functionality and bring it to market. Habashy said, “It is was great to collaborate with Sefaira to craft the SEPP65 functionality but even more satisfying to be able to use it successfully on a live project.

About GroupGSA

GroupGSA is an award winning multi-disciplinary design practice that delivers architecture, landscape, urban and interior design projects from eight offices across Australia and Southeast Asia. They approach each project in a holistic and integrated manner with the aim of delivering exceptional design solutions in a way that is beneficial for both the end users and the client