Environmental sustainability championed in $11m Roundhouse exterior renovations

The Roundhouse and UNSW Sydney have completed an $11 million exterior renovation on the Sydney venue in Kensington.

Following a $32 million venue renovation completed in 2018, the exterior redevelopments see the installation of a rainwater harvesting tank, a new green space, a redesigned loading dock and the addition of distinctive architectural features.

The Roundhouse was Sydney’s first round building, constructed in 1961, with the renovations honouring this significance by blending function and aesthetic with major sustainability and environmental considerations.

The venue’s loading dock carries through the round shape of the building, clad with ultra-strong Bluestone to protect the actively used space. The canopy above the main doors is a striking architectural feature, and alongside a large LED screen, serves as a distinctive entrance point for guests, directly overlooking the new light rail stop on Anzac Parade.

Round tables and benches crafted from recycled wood with built-in power outlets circle the venue’s perimeter. These seating areas were built on plateaus to avoid disturbing the roots of the surrounding 30m fig trees, while one sits at ground level for disabled access.

A 940sqm garden area has been positioned at the back of the building to create a green social space adjacent to an overlooking 100-year-old Plain tree. A 540sqm infiltration tank sits beneath the area, gathering approximately 15 per cent of the campus’ run-off water, which is reused in toilets, labs and at the YMCA pool next door.

“Environmental sustainability is a core element of the University’s 2025 Strategy,” said UNSW director of development Alexander Frankl. “It’s important that we not only research and teach about sustainability issues but demonstrate sound practices on our campuses.”

Jason Lyons, head of venue and events at The Roundhouse, welcomed the environmental considerations made in the upgrades.

“We have shifted our focus as a venue to evaluate the impact we and our clients have on the environment and we are making significant changes to our processes to play our part,” he said.

“We recently launched our event series for industry professionals ‘Round The Room – Sustaining the Events Industry’, with very positive feedback from attendees.”

Further exterior works to create a pedestrian entrance from the tram stop on Anzac Parade to the venue’s door front are scheduled to be completed by late 2019.