Swinburne University’s Advanced Manufacturing and Design Centre.

3 June 2014 — Swinburne University in Melbourne has opened the doors to its second 5 Star Green Star rated building, the Advanced Manufacturing and Design Centre.

The 11-storey, $100 million building was designed by UK-based Wilkinson Eyre Architects in association with Jacobs SKM, who also provided mechanical, electrical, civil, structural and hydraulic engineering.

“The AMDC has been made from materials that encourage natural light and self-generation of electricity,” Swinburne vice-chancellor and president Professor Linda Kristjanson said.

“This has been made possible through the design of the central atrium, which creates a well of natural light that filters through the floors, combined with the rippling exterior vertical fins, which have been designed to meet the winter and summer angles of the sun.”

Jacobs SKM’s ESD team leader Phillip Roös said the striking facade, comprised of glass reinforced concrete panels, had been inspired by a Boeing engine turbine – a nod to the university’s research partnership with the company – and nature.

“We wanted to develop an integrated system between good architecture, functionality and the response to local climate and local site conditions,” Mr Roös said.

A street-facing heritage facade has been retained for the first two floors of the building.

The building’s fins on the east and west sides are movable so to maximise daylight and optimise heat load from the sun, and will change configuration depending on time of day and season. The central atrium provides natural light through the centre of the building, and also acts as an exhaust for hot air, which can be purged at night.

A sky garden on the third floor is open to students and features a timber alternative called ModWood, an Australian made and owned composite product made from wood waste and recycled milk bottles.

Swinburne associate director of major projects Vince Persi told The Fifth Estate this dealt with some of the maintenance issues of timber. The product would last 20-30 years without any maintenance, and unlike wood didn’t require sanding, sealing or oiling.

He said the sky garden provided an extension of the traditional workspace, while allowing students to step out and get some fresh air.

The building also includes a 250-kilowatt trigeneration system – the first of its kind at Swinburne. While the system is not grid-connected, Mr Persi said it would still provide cost savings of up to 30 per cent and would act as a learning resource for Swinburne students and operational staff.

The AMDC has installed an under floor air distribution system for ventilation and cooling of large spaces such as lecture theatres and the student sky lounge, where energy can be saved by treating the occupied zone rather than trying to control the conditions of the entire floor. Fresh air is delivered to the spaces at a low level through floor diffusers under the seats and extracted at high level, providing a high quality indoor environment with lower energy consumption.

Active chilled beams have also been put in open plan and office spaces, providing energy efficient, quiet operation with low maintenance requirements.

To reduce the use of potable water, rainwater is collected from the roof of the building and collected into a tank to be used for toilet flushing after purification.

Other sustainability features include:

  • a commitment to re-using or recycling 80 per cent of construction waste
  • ventilation designed for a 50 per cent improvement on fresh air requirements
  • improved daylighting
  • 95 per cent of adhesives, sealants and painted surfaces and all carpets and flooring specified to be low in volatile organic compounds
  • greenhouse gas emissions predicted to be half that of a standard building
  • energy demand will be actively reduced by at least 30 per cent during peak hours
  • 140 new bicycle spaces
  • 90 per cent of all steel specified is reused or contains a post-consumer recycled content greater than 50 per cent

The project received $30 million in funding from the former federal government’s Education Investment Fund, a program cut by the Abbott government following a recommendation from the Commission of Audit.