Victoria University Sunshine Construction Futures

Victoria University Sunshine Construction Futures

Cox Architecture
Melbourne VIC, Australia
Project Year
Dianna Snape

Victoria University Sunshine Construction Futures

Cox Architecture as Architects

The new Sunshine Construction Futures (SCF) facility provides a centre of excellence in building and construction training, and a landmark building for Victoria University and the State's west.


The building is spread over two-levels of 12,000m2, with a form that expresses the progressive nature of the construction industry - the rapid development of new materials and construction design technologies - encouraging industry partners to engage with the centre and providing students with valuable experience and industry exposure.


Two primary teaching spaces - the trades workshop and general teaching spaces – result in an airside/landside relationship that promotes linkages between practical and theoretical spaces while allowing appropriate environmental separation. The pedagogical programme has been conceived as a range of learning typologies incorporating a technology hub, industry room (theatrette and exhibition space), work-based education centre, flexible learning (collaborative learning pods and breakout) and formal learning (workshop, machine shops and general-purpose classrooms).


The design provides a loose-fit long-life shell that responds to and caters for changing course programmes by maximising flexible spaces and incorporating innovative and sustainable materials.


The building was awarded a 6 Star Green Star rating due to its embedded sustainability measures including optimised day lighting through highly insulated facades as well as a mix of passive and active ventilation and temperature control systems, all of which contribute to environmental benefits and provide a state-of-the-art learning environment.


Tell us about the trades training that happens inside the building

A key component of the trades training to be conducted within the building was for re-skilling and green-skilling the construction workforce within western Melbourne. The building was designed to showcase and demonstrate the esd systems and services in order to reinforce the importance of sustainability within building practice to students, visitors and industry. The design team believed that the most effective way to demonstrate or promote sustainability was to embed sustainable systems, materials and process within the project instead of a clip-on approach.


The ideal cross section was developed in close collaboration with the consultant team in order to deliver optimum structural spans (minimizing materials), best practice passive ventilation with 100% outside air, a mix of active & passive heating and cooling, high levels of natural daylighting, and acoustic separation. In extruding the cross section along the campus street, the envelope responds to programme requirements at each end of the first level, a formal move articulated as a fold at the two main circulation stairs. The practical, theory & industry spaces are arranged along an internal street, a circulation spine that is expressed through the transparent southern facade of the building, promoting activity to the campus street and the broader context, which comprises a series of insular workshop facilities and the aging former Brimbank High School buildings (now used for adult & migrant education programmes). A series of peels along the internal facade and floor surface are a more literal response to the idea of displaying building systems & sustainability in learning.


What are the sustainability features?

Sunshine Construction Hub is a 6 Star Green Star Education V1 design - with optimum day lighting through highly insulated facades, a mix of passive and active ventilation and temperature control systems that provide an exemplary teaching environment to the future building & construction workforce.


100% outside air ventilation is provided while active mass in-slab hydronic tubes contribute radiant heating and cooling to teaching spaces, and a gabion rock store cooling system tempers fresh air intake to the building. The Night Sky Cooling system uses the large surface area of the roof to cool down water sprayed onto the roof, which is then used to temper the chilled water supply to the active mass cooling system, reducing load on conventional cooling systems and ongoing energy costs for the client.


Environmental systems are displayed on screens throughout to allow users to access & interact with building performance data and key sustainability elements are revealed through cross-sectional “peels” of the building fabric in social & circulation spaces with the aim of promoting further conversation between the building users & visitors.

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