At the oldest university in Victoria, the University of Melbourne’s Economics and Commerce School needed a new home. Specifically, it sought to create a state-of-the-art facility that catered to the school’s student body and welcomed the wider education community.
At the centre of the new academic and teaching facility is a 400-seat lecture theatre, surrounded by other teaching environments including seminar rooms, open access laboratories, break-out spaces and tiered lecture theatres as well as ancillary facilities.
The brief was to combine educational architecture, building services and environmental sustainability.
We completed the base building and fitout works with a design that incorporates many environmentally sustainable initiatives including:
- 100% improvement on minimum outside air rates
- A high level of thermal comfort
- A chilled beam system
The building's form is generated to deliver an integrated façade solution. The innovative use of ceramic frit on both external and internal surfaces provides higher than normal thermal performance on the double-glazed curtain wall. Integral to the curtain wall are perimeter blade elements that house both building and services infrastructure, which is reticulated throughout the building.
Our water conservation initiatives included:
- Water efficient fixtures and fittings
- Waterless urinals
- A blackwater treatment plant
- Recirculation of fire system test water
- Avoidance of traditional cooling towers
To minimise the risk of ozone damaging emissions, we used a combination of appropriate refrigerant selection plus refrigerant recovery and leak detection initiatives.
Our air-conditioning and lighting designs are energy efficient. There is a naturally ventilated foyer with a glazed perimeter stairwell. We employed displacement air-conditioning for lecture theatres, providing an energy efficient air-conditioning system that can respond quickly to highly variable occupancy rates.
The education facility achieved a 5 Star Green Star Education PILOT Rating. This was a first for an education facility of its scale in Australia at the time.