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Architecture: GippsTAFE Leongatha Learning Centre

April 8, 2011

Paul Morgan Architects’ project in regional Victoria explores how sustainable initiatives can be integrated into exemplary education design.

The 1615sqm GippsTAFE Learning Centre is built on an exposed greenfields site on the edge of Leongatha, located in Gippsland in south east Victoria. The project is the first TAFE building in Australia to be awarded a 5 Star Green Star (Education Design v1) rating from the GBCA.

The building’s conceptual and sustainable design aspects are integrated within a ‘performance envelope’ that responds to the kinetics of the environment. The aerodynamic form of the building addresses the question: What does a green star educational building look like?

The envelope is designed to enhance natural ventilation, alleviating excessive solar heating and minimising extreme wind gusts around the building. Wind scoops on the south elevation maximise suction pressure into teaching and staff areas, while fairings on the north elevation deflect hot northerly winds and capture the cooling easterly breeze.

The building’s section relates the internal building form to the kinetics of the environment, The section is an outcome of daylight and thermal modelling by the environmental engineer (IrwinConsult), wherein the high heat load of the summer sun is excluded, but the radiant heat of the lower sun during the cooler months results in heat gain and daylight reflection into classrooms from highlight windows. Spatially, a kind of daylight canyon is produced, with sunlight reflectors traversing the main corridor.

The scale of the wind scoops on the road elevation expands towards the east reinforcing the experience of accelerating out of town into the country—the building is more static on the west (town) end, and more distended on the east (country) end. Steel cladding references the industrial sheds found on the edge of country towns, while the contemporary, even futuristic performance envelope enfolds a lively and diverse series of interior spaces.

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