Green architecture – Advanced Technologies Centre, Australia
Advanced Technologies Centre (ATC) is open for research and teaching at Swinburne University of Technology’s Hawthorn campus. Aside the building’s transparency and interesting design, the ATC has achieved a 5 Star Green Star – Education Design v1 rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, which evaluates buildings on their environmental design and performance.
Located at 427-451 Burwood Road, Hawthorn, the ATC showcases the university and its sustainable features to the community. Researchers from various disciplines have moved in and will be conducting their work behind transparent walls. According to Dr Andrew Smith, Director of Swinburne’s Facilities and Services Group, this approach was taken to ensure that the university’s intensely technological endeavors were on show and not hidden in a back lot.
The street frontage of the ATC is dominated by a massive Smart Structures Laboratory which houses equipment that can apply extreme loads to buildings. Here, as scientists and engineers test the construction materials of the future, the public and passing traffic can watch.
Alongside the laboratory are social and teaching spaces, including a 500 seat lecture theatre that will also be used to host public forums and community events. Behind the building’s three-storey front section are two towers, each 10-storey high. One is dedicated to research and the other is reserved for the education of tertiary, postgraduate and TAFE students.
Since land is at a premium at Swinburne’s Hawthorn campus, the building had to maximize the available space within its 2,000 square meter (roughly 21,500 square feet) footprint. The final design, developed by Melbourne-based H2o architects, delivered a 20 percent increase in campus size. Since many of Swinburne’s research collaborations deal with the development of more eco-efficient technology, the university also opted for a design that embodied sustainability principles.
Among interesting features are the flexible spaces which have moveable walls that can be moved and installed throughout the building. Aside the huge amount of daylight and the opportunity for natural ventilation, the building’s lighting can adjusts in response to natural daylight levels and the building’s management system which, through its link to the Bureau of Meteorology, can predict changes in weather.
Bricks from Swinburne’s old South Engineering building were recycled and used in construction of the new building. The ground floor is made from recycled wood from an old bridge in northern Victoria.
The centre’s two massive towers are also sheathed in an eye-catching facade that provides an insulating thermal mass which lowers the need for temperature regulation. The sensors at the windows automatically turn off the air conditioning if opened. The building has fixtures which lower the water consumption as well as the rainwater gathering system.
I like the pattern on the facade and the fact that it is filled with light, but it lacks warm tones and greenery.