ESD & EED Award

This is an article from the Architecture Australia archives and may use outdated formatting

The Institute of Languages comprises twenty-six classrooms, seminar spaces and associated amenities. From the project outset the architects sought to reinvestigate the typical classroom model and to redesign it in terms of flexibility and energy efficiency. This is a low cost building on a tight budget and all design decisions were subject to value analysis in order to determine expenditure priorities. The building is the first new building on this part of the campus and acts as a gateway structure. As such, it makes an important statement to all future structures, referring equally to its site context (urban fabric) and to environmental considerations. At the time of design, the university was in some doubt as to the building?s ultimate use: open plan office, administration offices or classrooms. Therefore, the new teaching building has been designed to allow maximum flexibility, to satisfy both immediate requirements and longer term objectives. With minimal reconfiguration the building layout and services can change to accommodate a new use. This will prolong the life of the structure and was achieved with minimal extra cost to the budget.

The Institute of Languages is a handsome three storey building at the UNSW Randwick Sub-Campus, containing classrooms and seminar spaces. The architects reexamined the classroom building type in order to provide a highly energy-efficient and flexible building, which could also meet demands by fee-paying overseas students for air-conditioning. A loadbearing concrete structure was chosen for functional reasons. This doubles as a thermal sink and is the first of a number of sophisticated EED strategies. Central to these strategies are the six metre by six metre sun shaded modules, divided by central corridors, all acting as separate thermal units able to be naturally or artificially illuminated, ventilated or cooled. The highly flexible system provides year-round individual control and comfort levels, energy saving through the use of a three-pipe VRV system, and encourages the use of natural ventilation by a cross-flow design that does not sacrifice acoustic privacy, further reducing energy consumption. Summer strategies include automatic night cool air flushing of the modules and brown-out blinds; winter strategies include insulation, solar energy, and larger glazing frames providing the insulation of thicker glazing. It is a design that encompasses the benefits of natural ventilation, natural lighting and an efficient system of supplementary air conditioning with invention and intelligence.
Institute of Languages
Project Architect Scott Mullen. Design Architect Damian Barker. Project Manager Coady Management. Project Team Raoul Kluge, Ian Boyle, Renato Giacco, Keith Jupp. Structural Consultant, Civil Consultant George Clark & Associates. Electrical Consultant, Lighting Consultant VOS Partnership. Mechanical Consultant Steensen Varming. Hydraulic Consultant Warren Smith & Partners. Landscape Architect, Interior Designer Jackson Teece Chesterman Willis. Acoustic Consultant Eden Acoustics. Environment Consultant Jackson Teece Chesterman Willis, Steensen Varming. Quantity Surveyor Widnell. Builder Prime Constructions. Photography Sharrin Rees.



Published online: 1 Nov 2000


Architecture Australia, November 2000

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