An Architectus-designed prefabricated building has opened at Macquarie University in Sydney, and it took just five months to construct.

The timber-designed Incubator has been conceived “as a pair of pavilions”, and will nurture, equip and accommodate entrepreneurs as they grow a business idea or social venture into a successful start-up.

“Each [of the pavilions have] flexible layouts that lend themselves to the future adaptations and functions of the start-ups inside,” says Luke Johnson, Architectus principal.

“A strong driver was the need for collaboration and interaction between individual start-ups and with each other, in addition to privacy for each start-up to operate as its own business. With this in mind, we created open spaces and breakout areas, and smaller, private meeting rooms.”


The building incorporates a blend of timbers and cork. The materials were constructed offsite, minimising disruption to classes. It was completed within just five months of construction commencing.

“We looked to timber as the main construction material for the Incubator for its capacity to be beautifully engineered, swiftly fabricated to high quality, and for its potential for future dis-assembly and relocation,” says Johnson.  

“A variety of timber species were used throughout, including a ceiling diaphragm of cross-laminated timber, large-span laminated veneer lumber beams and glulam V columns, as well as spotted gum hardwood and cork for the interior floor surfaces, and plywood for the external walls.”


Sustainability was a driving force behind the design, which includes a number of environmental features such as operable wall panels to facilitate natural ventilation, cantilevering roofs to shade the double-glazed windows from excessive solar radiation, and self-reporting solar panels.

Inside, the Incubator offers hot desks, meeting rooms, and conferencing facilities.