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2018 National Architecture Awards: National Award for Sustainable Architecture

Barwon Water by GHDWoodhead Sustainable Architecture: National Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

The overhaul of the headquarters for Barwon Water in the Victorian city of Geelong is a clever adaptive re-use of the agency’s 1977 building in which the majority of the original concrete and steel structure was retained, resulting in an estimated saving of one million kilograms of CO2 compared to using new materials. Of the material removed from the site, 80 percent was recycled. Internal connectivity is greatly improved via the introduction of an infill structure that physically and visually links the north and south blocks, while a central atrium allows natural light into the building and improves its environmental performance, staff engagement and comfort.

The building is wrapped in a high-performance skin comprised of a double-glazed, thermally isolated curtain wall system shielded by customized sunshading – designed to respond to angles of sunlight and passively insulate the building’s internal environment from external climatic conditions. The facade treatment is complemented by a smaller, more efficient internal mechanical airconditioning system to increase occupant comfort and reduce overall energy consumption.

The jury was impressed that the consolidation of Geelong-based Barwon Water employees into one office has seen a 70 percent reduction in electricity use and a 90 percent reduction in gas use.

For more coverage, read Jennifer Calzini’s project review from Architecture Australia Jul/Aug 2018.


Project Team
Martin Palmer, Joel Lee (design architects), Cameron Ross (project architect), Michelle Phillips (designer), Will Delaney (interior design), Caroline Marten, Cathy Ismail (documentation), Simon Scillio (detailer)
Acoustic and materials engineer GHDWoodhead
Builder Monaco Hickey
Building surveyor Floreancig Smith Building Surveyors
Civic and environmental engineer GHDWoodhead
Facade engineer Inhabit
Fire engineer Arup
Geotechnical engineer GHDWoodhead
Landscape consultant GHDWoodhead
Structural and service engineer GHDWoodhead
Site details
Site type Urban
Category Commercial / public buildings
Type Commercial
Project Details
Status Built
Completion date 2018
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