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RMIT Design Hub, Melbourne, Australia

Thursday 29 Nov 2012

Leading by example

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Award Entry

Sean Godsell Architects completes an environmentally-conscious building to house Melbourne's design institute 

The purpose of the Design Hub is to provide accommodation in one building for a diverse range of design research and post graduate education. The Hub provides a collegial research base for post graduates investigating areas of design ranging from architecture, landscape architecture and interior design to industrial, aeronautical, automotive and computer-based diciplines. Research groups have the ability to locate and fine tune their accommodation within ‘warehouses’ - open plan spaces where research teams can set up and tailor their work environment to suit their particular needs.

The plan of the Hub acknowledges the desire for incidental cross-pollination where researchers from one field encounter those from completely unrelated other fields as part of their day-to-day use of the building. An exhibition space and design archive provide a public interface with both industry and research outcomes. These spaces combined with a variety of lecture, seminar and multi-purpose rooms facilitate high level exchanges in a number of forums.

The Hub has a large number of ESD features and incorporates strategies for water, waste and recycling management that are the equal of any ESD focussed building on the planet. In particular the outer skin of the Hub incorporates automated glass sunshading cells that include solar power infrastructure and evaporative cooling and fresh air intakes that improve the internal air quality and reduce running costs.

The cells been designed so that they can be easily replaced as advances in the development of solar power result in improved technology and part of the northern façade is actually dedicated to ongoing research into solar energy to be conducted jointly by industry and RMIT. The entire building façade, in other words, has the capacity to be upgraded as technology evolves over the coming decades.

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Sean Godsell Architects

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