The Australian Catholic University's new Centre for Health and Wellbeing is Woods Bagot's latest energy efficient building concept. The project incorporates active mass cooling concrete slabs, rainwater harvesting, solar hot water heating panels, six wind turbines and a roof top garden terrace.
The Centre is the second major project for the University, a long-term client of Woods Bagot. It includes lecture theatres, classrooms, staff areas, nursing laboratories, a gymnasium, café-bookshop and a rooftop terrace and garden to accommodate 2,000 students and 500 staff.
Well embedded within its urban context, the project site informs the design: mediating between the contrasting urban conditions to create a strong visual connection between the Centre and its surrounds. The building mass and height interprets the qualities inherent in both the brief and the location as staggered volumes step up toward the south to reveal a changing asymmetric silhouette when viewed from differing street vantage points
The Centre's architectural presence is further defined by a natural palette of materials including concrete, brick, zinc and glass. The ground and mezzanine floors will be occupied by a cafe bookshop and lecture theatre, whilst the Chapel and Centre clinics will face Brunswick Street, a major retail hub in Fitzroy. The building entry will engage with the pedestrian community with access links to other main streets and suburbs located nearby.
Education and Science Sector Director Mark Kelly explains further; "This has allowed for a light filled atria and circulation core which means better air flow, more sunlight and a happier, healthier workplace." Seeking to enhance collaboration and creativity, the workspaces for general teaching and high-level research staff are well-integrated in the southern component of the Centre.