Norman Disney & Young was engaged by Lyons Architects and Murdoch University to deliver core building and specialist engineering services designs for the New Academic Building (NAB) located adjacent to Banksia Court. This building forms an integral part of transitioning Discovery Way as the primary arrival gateway for the University.

A linear 4 storey academic building is proposed as a concrete structure for the lower level stories, with an innovative engineered timber frame for the upper three stories.

The primary purpose of the project is to provide the University with state-of-the-art contemporary learning spaces, to meet the needs of contemporary higher education. In addition, the project provides for extensive areas of informal, student focused, ‘peer to peer’ learning areas.

The building will also contain a new campus wide Student Services Hub and a series of innovative ‘future focused’ research and industry engagement spaces. The NAB will provide Murdoch University with approximately 16,000 m² of contemporary collaborative learning space, informal peer-to-peer learning, academic workplace and campus landscape.  The project will act as a demonstration of the University’s commitment to sustainable practices and design innovation.

Working in close conjunction with Lyons, NDY has developed plant and riser spatial principles and colour mapping drawings to geographically depict various building services design solutions during the early design phases. NDY’s suite of digital engineering tools has been used to develop these outputs and to carry out various early design verification and compliance checks on element such as:

  • Fire hydrant and hose reel coverage compliance checks
  • Communications cable lengths (with respect to chosen comms room locations)
  • Distribution board demarcation zone drawings
  • AV line of sight reviews
  • CCTV field of vision reviews.

Colour map outputs depicting:

  • Mechanical air conditioning design philosophies
  • Hydraulic wet/dry areas and temperature control requirements
  • Lighting illuminance level philosophy
  • Fire and Smoke compartmentation
  • Acoustic wall details.

Designed to achieve a 6 Star Green Star Design and As-Built v1.3 rating, the project demonstrates leadership in sustainability on a national scale. NDY has worked closely with the architect and facade consultant, through an iterative modelling process, to ensure the building’s architecture will passively control solar gains to minimise cooling energy and enhance thermal comfort, incorporating deep eaves to the north, vertical fins to the southern facade, and horizontal fins to the eastern and western facades. The combination of smart and informed passive design and high performance building fabric results in the NAB exceeding NCC Section J 2019 performance requirements by 10% and resulting in a 90% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions when modeled under Green Star protocol.

Wind microclimate and thermal comfort studies have informed the architectural and mechanical design and enabled the use of mixed mode ventilation to select areas for 40% of the year, further reducing energy consumption. The NAB project team has prioritised reduction of embodied carbon in construction materials resulting in a hybrid, mass timber construction for the majority of the NAB structure, the largest in Western Australia so far. Mass timber construction not only reduces new carbon emissions entering the atmosphere but sequesters carbon from the atmosphere as it grows. NDY has developed a strong understanding of Murdoch’s appetite to push boundaries in sustainability in the built environment and has delivered the expertise required to design a world leading sustainable building.

Exterior images courtesy of Lyons Architects