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Timber in Design: RMIT Building 513

Last week I mentioned that both Jessie Rigby and I studied the same course at RMIT and it inspired me to share the incredible architecture of our campus building.

Completed in 2000 the building was designed by Tim Hurburgh and Mark O’Dwyer of H20 architects.  The architects were commissioned by the university to design a building that could house the textile, clothing, footwear and leather programs but also further their “commitment to enrich its built environment through innovative architecture.” The outside is clad in a western-red-cedar weather screen which functions as a thermal insulator and also reflects the theme of woven textiles and the activity within the building.  The result is an incredibly striking building that stands out from its otherwise baron industrial surroundings.

“The designers also set out to achieve passive solar temperature control, the building is only partially air conditioned. H2o architects worked closely with the builder, project engineers, the Timber Promotion Council and leading northern European researchers in timber facade systems to develop an environmentally responsive method of construction to regulate internal temperature. A system was resolved utilising “double skins” either side of a thermal chimney that limit heat transfer to the building interior.”

“The unique external cladding changes in appearance with varying light conditions, creating a visually dynamic effect, reminiscent of the varied textures and patterns of the woven fabric produced by the building occupants. The cedar has been left untreated and is weathering to a silky grey.”

 Source and images via H2o Architects