A Hayball-designed student accommodation development on Waymouth Street in Adelaide’s CBD, currently under construction, will be at least 25 percent more efficient than most student accommodation buildingsafter receiving a financial boost from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
The CEFC announced its support of the project, its first major property investment in Adelaide, on 4 August, in a move aimed at driving the development of innovative, energy-efficient student accommodation.
Established under the Gillard government to bolster the clean energy sector, the government-owned “green bank” has committed debt finance of $32 million to the 428-bed student accommodation building.
A statement from the CEFC contends that the project, a joint venture investment between Blue Sky Private Real Estate (BSPRE) and Goldman Sachs, will “set a new benchmark” for energy efficiency design and demonstrate the benefits of market-leading building standards.
The 16-storey building will incorporate energy-efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning, LED lighting, centralized gas water heating, water-efficient taps and a 25-kilowatt rooftop solar photovoltaic system.
CEFC property sector lead Chris Wade said student accommodation developers have so far had a limited focus on energy efficiency, tending to build to minimum standards under the National Construction Code, which is typically the lowest cost option.
“We are looking to increase those standards by demonstrating the clear economic and environmental benefits of incorporating clean energy technology in the planning and construction phase,” he said.
“Through the CEFC’s finance, the Waymouth Street development will achieve a minimum 25 percent improvement on energy efficiency compared with business as usual.”
The building, which is yet unfinished, has received criticism for its appearance and the way it responds to its urban context.
In June, The Advertiser claimed the building “looks like a remnant of the Cold War era,” and quoted City of Adelaide councillor Anne Moran saying the building is “seemingly unsympathetic,” while councillor Sandy Wilkinson stated that it is “ugly” and that its scale is “completely at odds” with its surrounds.
Hayball’s managing director Tom Jordan told ArchitectureAU that the building had been through a rigorous approval process and had the strong support of state government architects.
“It does always surprise me when people comment on the appearance of a building while it’s still being constructed,” Jordan said.
A design outline from Hayball states the project “responds respectfully to its existing and future context.”
“[It has] finely detailed human-scale podium elements and a sloped building form which defines the street corner while diminishing the visual bulk of the architecture against the skyline,” the design statement reads.
An urban context report submitted to the Development Assessment Commission in March 2016 states that Waymouth Street is evolving from its current predominantly low-rise commercial grain, with larger scale developments approved for surrounding blocks.
A 20-storey apartment building designed by Brown Falconer has been approved for nearby Franklin Street and is slated for completion in early 2019.
The Waymouth Street student accommodation is expected to open in February 2018.