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Victorian education projects recognised in Architecture Awards

Australia 08 August 2023

Our multi-disciplinary building services team in Melbourne were delighted to see two of our recent education projects recognised with architecture awards. Both were delivered for the Victorian School Building Authority and required the embedding of sustainable design features including all-electric building services, optimised energy-efficiency, user-centric smart building control systems and passive-first solutions for lighting, thermal comfort, and indoor air quality.

The Centre for Higher Education Studies designed by Brand Architects with Fieldwork won three awards: Educational Architecture winner, 2023 Victorian Architecture Awards; Best of State Commercial Design winner (VIC), Australian Interior Design Awards 2023 and a Commendation in the Public Design category, Australian Interior Design Awards 2023.

A biophilic design approach was taken for the new facility, which will serve the needs of high-achieving Victorian secondary school students transitioning to tertiary education. The state-of-the-art learning spaces and specialist facilities features an atrium for internal light penetration, extensive use of timber, and indoor greening for enhanced wellbeing. Heat recovery systems were incorporated into the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to further enhance energy efficiency.

The Box Hill North Primary School, an expansion of an existing public school, was designed by Sibling Architecture. It won an Award for Educational Architecture in the 2023 Victorian Architecture Awards held by the Australian Institute of Architects.

Biophilic elements including the materials palette, passive solar spatial layout, extensive use of curved architectural elements, natural daylighting and mixed-mode ventilation created welcoming, flexible and harmonious spaces.

“We know how important the quality of the indoor environment is to learning outcomes and staff and student wellbeing, which makes our work as building services engineers very important, even if it is largely invisible,” said Garrit Schot, Partner Building Services and Managing Director, Australia.

“The biophilic design approach of the architects on these projects is very much aligned with Cundall’s own commitment to embedding sustainability. The designs enable our engineering concepts to effectively leverage passive thermal performance, natural ventilation and daylight to reduce reliance on mechanical and electrical solutions.

“This makes a project extremely interesting for us as engineers, as we utilise digital modelling to understand every aspect of the indoor space. This forms the evidence base for designing building services that are bespoke for that project, specific climate conditions and user needs with exemplary energy-efficiency. Being all-electric is also positive, both for progress towards net zero goals and for cost-effective operation.”