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Design for a better world

Lakshmi Ranganathan, May 29, 2015: 19:42 IST
Designed in collaboration with a Boston-based practice, the $129 million, 15,700 sq m building has also been awarded a 6-Star Green Star Education Design rating
John Wardle Architects have grabbed an international Green Good Design award for their Melbourne School of Design – Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning project. Green Good Design’s goal is to bestow international recognition to those outstanding individuals, and institutions – together with their products, services, programmes, ideas, and concepts-that have forwarded exceptional thinking and inspired greater progress towards a healthier and more sustainable universe.

Designed in collaboration with a Boston-based practice, the $129 million, 15,700 sq m building has also been awarded a 6-Star Green Star Education Design rating, becoming the only building to be awarded all 10 innovation points under Green Star. The project was the only Australian project to be awarded at the inaugural Green Good Design awards.

As a centrepiece to the University of Melbourne campus and as a tool for the education of future designers and builders, the Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning was designed with a holistic approach to sustainability. In addition to meeting a 5-star Green Star rating, this approach includes criteria for the fabrication of the building, material selection, energy use, life cycle cost, day lighting, and a range of issues that impact the mechanical systems of the building – each playing a demonstrative part in the education of the user.

The building’s different programmes ranging from highly controlled theatre space, strictly scheduled seminar spaces, flexible teaching spaces and round-the-clock occupation makes the mixed mode system particularly adaptable. In all but the coldest and hottest days, the building utilises cross ventilation and vertical stack effect to ventilate the building. The exposed mechanical systems in the studios allow students to see when systems switch.

The composite structure utilises pre-cast concrete columns, poured in place floor slabs and beams, steel framed cantilever, cross laminated timber (CLT) floor infill, and
laminated veneer lumber (LVL) long span beams, for the most efficient and with the lowest embodied energy applications.

The facade, including the roof, has multiple rolls to control light, to keep out the elements, and to present the face of the building. The unique coffered roof, covering the central atrium, through its depth and geometry allow ample day lighting and controls glare. Its raised position also allows for the evacuation of hot air rising in the atrium below drawing fresh air from the perimeter.

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