LAB Architecture’s Wujin Council Chambers

31 October 2013 – Conference, London: [UPDATED] Australian firm LAB Architecture Studio has won the Innovation in Generative Design award at the Bentley Year In Infrastructure 2013 Be Inspired Awards in London.

The awards are the main event of Bentley’s Year In Infrastructure 2013 Conference, and recognise outstanding achievement in infrastructure design, construction and operations.

There were 67 finalists from 22 countries around the world. Australia was in the top four countries for number of projects this year.

LAB Architecture won the award for the Wujin Council Towers project in China, in conjunction with the Shanghai Institute of Architectural Design and Research.

The architectural firm, well known for Melbourne’s Federation Square, created a 27,000 square metre, $29 million council building in Changzhou, Jiangsu, China, which also features a five-star hotel.

The building is the first in the region to achieve a two out of three star rating in China’s Green Building Evaluation Standard.

Tim Fowler

LAB’s Tim Fowler told the conference that while two stars didn’t seem like a lot, the Chinese system was a very different beast to NABERS or LEED.

LAB, he said, had always had a very strong interest in environmental and sustainable design, and the Wujin Council Chambers were testament to this.

Using generative design – a process where the output is generated by a set of algorithms which have defined rules and bounds – LAB was able to create a form that minimised the thermal load of the building.

Mr Fowler said the project was guided by the idea of “self-shading” – the idea of a building being potentially self shading due to its form, with a part of the building taking the brunt of the thermal load to protect the rest.

Using Bentley’s Generative Components technology, LAB was able to reduce cross-sectional area by processing 1800 different scenarios and choosing the best outcome, dramatically reducing thermal loads in summer.

Another Australian project – the biggest project in the world according to Bentley chief executive Greg Bentley – was the Gorgon Project off the northwest coast of Australia by the Kellogg Joint Venture Gorgon, a $52 billion development of the Greater Gorgon gas fields on Barrow Island, a protected nature reserve.

The project was a runner-up for the Innovation in Construction award, losing out to the Alberta Oil Sands project in Canada.

At the heart of these projects was Bentley System’s software, with the conference and associated awards ceremony an opportunity for the company to showcase some of the projects the software has been integral in.

The winners were announced in a ceremony on Wednesday night London time.

Cameron Jewell travelled to London as guest of Bentley Systems