Environmentally sensitive design in practice

A new university campus in outback Australia is set to teach the world how to not only survive, but to sustain life in the future. Built to house the School of Environment and Information Sciences and the School of Business, the campus is also a centre for the study of environmental issues. Academic offices, a research institute, regional herbarium, specialist teaching facilities, lecture theatre complex and computer centre are occupied and residential accommodation will be complete in February 2000. Set on an open site, the campus comprising elements disciplined by deep green ethics, is articulated with rammed earth and recycled timber clearly expressing the University’s environmental mission. Water is one of this dry hot continent’s most precious resources. The award winning, stormwater recycling system, on-site greywater treatment and dry composting toilets obviate the need for connection to town sewerage or stormwater mains. Early decisions favouring passive techniques were critical in developing a building envelope responsive to temperature variations. The thermal mass of the concrete floors and rammed earth walls stores the sun’s heat in winter and keeps the building cool in winter. Low energy systems include night cooling, circulation of hot and cold water through the slab, waterfalls and spray mists, thermal chimneys. The Thurgoona Campus experience is on a neighbourhood scale and provides a live model that addresses some of the present and future issues of environmental impact and community cost.

This entry was posted in Conference Paper. Bookmark the permalink.