Sydney Dance Studio.

CLIENT | Dunn & Hillam Architects

SERVICES | Mechanical, electrical, hydraulic & fire


Sydney Dance Studios are a new temporary home for the Sydney Dance Company. Due to the refurbishment of their permanent home at Walsh Bay, Sydney Dance Company have relocated their operations to Ultimo during construction. The new premises at Wattle Street, Ultimo consist of a large public dwell space, kitchenette, change room facilities, gymnasium and three large professional dance studios.

Designed by award winning architects Dunn & Hillam, the three studios have exposed services creating an industrial but ultra-modern feel. In the amenities areas, ceilings have been lowered to house the plant rooms, accessible by ladder above.

Working to develop the new site in just over six months, JHA’s Engineers needed to work closely with the architect. This relationship was paramount in achieving this impressive, high quality building.

A key outcome for the Hydraulics team was to design a system using the existing power supply. An analysis  and modelling of power calculations based on usage scenarios was required to allow for all dancers to be able to shower within a short period of time after a class. The system also allows for expansion of the site and size of the company if required in the future.

Climate control in the studios was paramount. The mechanical team faced the challenge of designing a system which could both effectively heat and cool a studio with a tall ceiling height. The impressive studios rise up 7 metres at the highest point with the exposed services at 4.5 metres. Adjustable Diffusers, specifically designed for high ceiling spaces, with electric actuators were installed.

In heating mode, the actuator adjusts the angle of the blades to jet the hot air straight down vertically towards to the floor. As hot air is more buoyant than cold air, it will naturally try to stay at a higher level; which is why blowing it down with force towards the ground overcomes the natural buoyancy and allows it to reach the occupants.

Adjustable Diffuser with electric actuators

In cooling mode, the angle of the blades adjusts so that the cold air is discharged at more horizontal angles. The air is diffused in cooling mode in this manner so that cold air isn’t blown straight down onto the occupants, creating a more pleasant and draught-free environment.

JHA’s Electrical, Mechanical, Hydraulic and Fire Engineers were thrilled to be part of this delightful building and to see it take shape from plans to fruition in such a short space of time.