Located at La Trobe University in Melbourne, this facility is home to a new nucleus for cutting-edge agricultural research that addresses food security. It is a joint initiative of the Government of Victoria Department of Environment and Primary Industries and La Trobe University. Delivered by public private partnership, Major Projects Victoria managed the procurement, design and construction of AgriBio on behalf of the Joint Venture parties.
From the start, there were high sustainability aspirations for this facility. The aim was to achieve energy efficiency and provide an environmentally sustainable facility aligned with Australian best practice. It also had to be a work space that inspired and facilitated research collaboration.
We undertook significant analysis and detailed design development in conjunction with the architect, and services and structural engineers. Our focus was to optimise the building form, fabric and building services infrastructure to balance both functional and sustainability aspirations.
The large three-storey facility covers an area of 30,777 m2 and has capacity for 400 staff members, including scientists, students, and business and science-support staff. The ustainability features include:
- A tri-generation plant
- Rainwater harvesting
- Stormwater retention pond for landscape irrigation
- An extensive daylighting strategy
- Natural light promotion
- An innovative façade that includes thermally broken frames
- Mixed mode ventilation.
These measures reduce energy and water consumption and minimise the building's greenhouse gas emissions and operational costs. The building also contains some of Australia's largest physical containment levels (PC3/QC3 suites), including for greenhouses, CER's and laboratories.
One of the critical aspects of the engineering services design for these areas is to negatively pressurise the suites to provide protection for scientists and allow them to safely carry out industry-saving research on hazardous micro-organisms, as well as to protect the population and environment outside the laboratory.
We met the building's stringent functional requirements and provided an indoor working environment that is thermally and visually comfortable, and has a strong visual connection to the external natural landscape. The Centre was the first facility to achieve a 5-Star Green Star As Built Education v1 Rating in Victoria.