HKUST is one of the fastest growing universities in Asia with surging enrolment of overseas students every year. With WSP’s comprehensive civil, structural, geotechnical and MEP engineering solutions, as well as BEAM Plus and acoustics consultancy, this new student residence, planned for completion in 2023, will house over 1,500 students with communal areas for living, learning and leisure in a total GFA of approximately 35,500 sq.m.
Overcoming the challenging terrain
The HKUST campus sits on a sloped terrain with all its buildings and facilities built on separate terraces carved out of the hillside – same for this development to be built on a steep slope adjacent to Lee Shau Kee Campus with a level difference of 25m. To overcome this foundational challenge, during the early design stage, WSP’s civil, geotechnical and structural teams jointly developed a solution for optimising site formation that and ELS design would fit architectural and MEP/drainage and utilities requirements.
By creating a topography 3D model, we implemented an agile iterative schematic development approach to enable an integrated design which can minimise cost with optimised excavation profile, structure retaining arrangement, founding level arrangement of piles, existing soil nail impact and in-depth design on view clearance, road planning and landscaping.
Putting sustainability and comfort in place
Planning with students’ daily lives in mind, WSP designed a number of features enhancing sustainability and comfort of the living environment.
AC system is essential to the entire HKUST campus as it is located right at the eastern tip of the Sai Kung Peninsula in the already humid Hong Kong. Yet conventional window type or split AC system, used in many other existing residences at HKUST, is no longer an energy efficient option. Through analysing HKUST’s cooling load profile, WSP proposed using the existing water-cooled chiller plants in the campus with district cooling strategy to serve the new development.
Precast façade modules with thermal insulation is part of the project’s comprehensive passive design strategy. Using simulation tools, our MEP and sustainability teams optimised the façade with specific fins and glazing portion to achieve daylight access that suit the terrain and building form while minimising solar gains. Our structural engineers also offered design input in areas such as façade loadings and constructability.
Other green features include centralised hot water system with solar thermal and heat pump system, extensive solar PV panels and BIPV system on the roofs, smart metering for monitoring all end-use power consumptions and rainwater recycling for irrigation. This residence targets to achieve the top Platinum rating under the local BEAM Plus green building scheme.
Besides, as the acoustics consultant, we advised on room acoustics to ensure good performance especially for students’ residential areas and apartments close to vertical transportation systems.
Visionary digital collaboration
We used digital design technologies extensively in full consultation with HKUST on site constraints, client requirements and feasibility on system integration with the existing campus. For example, our engineers provided Revit support for the overall architectural coordination and MEP zone optimisation. In collaboration with L&O’s sustainability team, WSP also adopted 3D modelling for the development of energy model and assessment on daylight, solar irradiation and façade design.
The 3D BIM coordination and our digital competence will realise HKUST’s vision of a ‘3D digitalised building’ to enhance future facilities operation and maintenance in the long run using smart IoT sensors for early system diagnosis. Some of our smart solutions include centralised control and monitoring for all MEP systems, room control system linked with online electronic door lock system, and automated 24/7 lighting controls.
Future Ready for a 50-year life cycle
We worked closely with HKUST and our collaborators on the operational strategies for the residence’s 50-year life cycle, including a cost study for the most sustainable hot water system solution considering capital costs, energy costs, operational cost and carbon cost. The high-performance façade that wraps the building with thermal insulation will minimise heat losses and heat gains as the development facing more extreme weather conditions in future due to climate change.
Our MEP design has also taken future flexibility and adaptability into account, with tailored Future Ready provisions include LoRaWAN network for wireless smart sensors and 5G network infrastructure.