The five-storey 150-room student accommodation building at Monash University’s Peninsula Campus sets a new benchmark in sustainable design, combining a Passive House certified building with a Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) structure. The project is the largest in Australia to combine both of these design elements, and provides highly energy efficient student accommodation units with the focus on user comfort. The building consists of accommodation units, common areas, lounges, games areas and, outdoor spaces. The building is a key step in helping the University to achieve its objective to be a leader in Passive House design as they look to transform the student experience and deliver high performing buildings.

Passive House is a construction methodology and accreditation tool applicable across all habitable buildings and focuses on maximising thermal energy performance of a building’s envelope, high occupant comfort and low energy consumption. In order to achieve the Passive House accreditation, the standard had to be adapted to suit the demands of Australian weather. A parametric-designed sunshade limited the overheating risk, reducing the cooling demands of the building while enabling appropriate levels of daylight access for the building’s users. An airtight building which also integrated a large photovoltaic array helped contribute to the certification. These outstanding sustainability outcomes help the University move the campus towards their target of achieving net zero carbon emissions. “

The project is Monash University’s first CLT student housing project. CLT as the primary structural system was chosen for its many benefits, including its lightweight and sustainable properties, the less disruptive and safer construction techniques, as well as the speed of construction which allowed the University to meet the tight project timelines. Studies have also shown that timber buildings reduce stress levels and improve occupant comfort and indoor environment quality.

Given the highly coordinated nature of a timber construction, the design team worked collaboratively through the necessary integrated design complexities of addressing the fire, acoustic and structural performance of the timber, as well as the integration of building services. Working closely with Monash University, Jackson Clements Burrows Architects and Multiplex, AECOM provided mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, fire, civil and structural engineering, as well as fire protection, environmentally sustainable design, vertical transportation, audio visual and acoustics consultancy.

As a testament to the project’s successes, Gillies Hall has been successful in a number of industry awards including;

  • 2019 Victorian Premier’s Sustainability Award – Built Environment
  • 2019 Melbourne Design Awards – Gold Medal, Architecture – Multi Residential – Constructed
  • AFR Higher Education Award 2019 – Facilities Innovation Award, Winner
  • 2019 Australian Timber Design Awards – Winner for Sustainability
  • 2019 AIRAH Awards – Winner for Sustainability
  • Banksia Sustainability Awards – Finalist
  • PCA Innovation Awards – Finalist (to be announced late 2020)
  • 2020 Australian Interior Design Awards: Sustainability Advancement
  • AIA Awards VIC 2020 – Award for Interior Architecture & Residential Architecture – Multiple Housing, commendation for Sustainability