Construction has just finished on the Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp-designed Tyree Energy Technologies Building at the University of New South Wales.
The 15,000-square-metre, six-level building is used for research, education and industry collaboration in the development and practical implementation of sustainable energy technologies. The building has teaching and learning spaces; workshops and display spaces; research spaces, including wet and dry labs; and a cafe. Designed to facilitate leading-edge research in photovoltaics, a state-of-the-art class 10,000 cleanroom has also been integrated. This ultra-clean laboratory will be used for the research and development of more efficient silicone chips for PV solar panels.
The building uses a number of other energy-saving technologies, such as an underground labyrinth, which provides cooling for the building at no cost, and a highly efficient facade. Materials were carefully selected to minimize the environmental impact of the development. UNSW and the construction company behind the project, Brookfield Multiplex, were aiming to attain six stars in the Green Star Design rating system. The building was recently certified as a 6 Green Star building making it one of only five education projects certified with 6 Green Stars and the only 6 Green Star laboratory building in Australia.
A “living laboratory” was introduced during construction to give UNSW students a chance to engage with a live site and to observe the practical application of the theories they were being taught. This involved site staff conducting regular tours for students, presenting in lectures and assisting with class assignments in which the project was a case study.