In Adelaide, South Australia, we worked with not-for-profit Uniting Communities on a unique and vibrant multi-use development called U-City. On the corner of Franklin and Pitt Streets, this project will combine specialist disability living accommodation with retirement apartments, a social services hub, café, offices and retail space. It has become known as the vertical city within a city because, at 20 storeys high, its upper floors will offer spectacular views of Adelaide and the coastline.
Designing for Diverse Living
Central to Uniting Communities’ vision was the use of technology to assist U-City’s residents in their day-to-day lives and to maximise the development’s energy and environmental performance. Working closely with Woods Bagot, we designed features that will address the various levels of living accommodation.
Greater Flexibility and Choice
U-City incorporates all the attributes of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA), which is designed for people with significant functional impairment and/or very high-support needs. In collaboration with various specialised equipment vendors, we combined many types of assistive technology into the design of the building.
Assistive technology is not an off-the-shelf solution. It create a significant design opportunity to ensure the interoperability of the various technologies while ensuring the apartments have the flexibility to accommodate the evolving needs of their residents.
Energy Efficient and Sustainable
The embedded technology and assistive technology also supported U-City’s sustainability goals. For example, we used sensor technology extensively throughout the building to manage lighting, heating and ventilation systems depending on occupancy levels.
Other high-performance sustainable features include:
- An embedded electricity network
- A 55-kilowatt solar PV array on the roof
- Gas-boosted solar hot water provision
- Natural ventilation throughout all living spaces
- Double glazing
- Shading features on the façade
- Consumes 45% less energy and 30% less water than a comparable new building
Growing South Australia’s Green Star Credentials
The Green Building Council of Australia has awarded the development a 6-Star Green Star Design Rating, with the design scoring a total of 84.9 out of a possible 100. U-City has been recognised as South Australia’s greenest building design to date. It is predicted to use 45 per cent less energy and 30 per cent less water than a comparable new building.