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Suzanne Cory High School, Werribee, Victoria, Australia

Wednesday 04 Jul 2012

Visible engineering solutions

Andrew Wuttke/Brand Architecture 
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An innovative educational approach showcasing sustainability to the students. 

Suzanne Cory High School is one of two new selective entry schools in outer Melbourne. The design challenge was to create an exceptional learning environment for the area's elite students, which also acted as an environmental learning resource. As ESD consultants and Building Services Engineers, Cundall collaborated with Brand Architecture to create not only a building that reduced its impact on the environment, but also demonstrated sustainable design in action.

The design was influenced by visibility. Engineering solutions are often hidden away within the buildings, where the occupants are not aware of the many systems that are creating the comfortable environment they were in. This was not the case with Suzanne Cory High School. The 3-layer EFTE roof system, which covers the central agora of the building, dramatically alters daylight and heat gain by inflating and deflating its pillows. Stormwater is visibly collected by open stormwater paths with treatment via bio-swales and ponds that double as a teaching resource. Extensive BMS for environmental control, data collection and display of building services to use as a teaching resource. Tempered air is distributed via earth covered thermal labyrinths, which in addition to having their entry grates exposed, also have portholes to view the fan systems. Instead of being hidden away, the earth mounded labyrinths are adjacent to the major outdoor court, supporting tiered seating and wind protection.

By surrounding the students with cutting edge sustainable design solutions that can been seen whilst learning, this will hopefully inspire students to use innovation and technology in problem solving in their current and future studies and create the next generation of engineers. A further demonstration of its environmental credentials has been the school achieving a 5-Star Green Star Education V1 rating.

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