Last week I mentioned that both Jessie Rigby and I studied the same course at RMIT. This inspired me to share the incredible timber design architecture of our campus building.
Completed in 2000, the building was designed by Tim Hurburgh and Mark O’Dwyer of H2O architects. H2O were commissioned by the university to design a building that could house the textile, clothing, footwear and leather programs. It was also important to further the architects “commitment to enrich its built environment through innovative architecture.” The outside of the buiding is clad in a western red cedar weather screen which functions as a thermal insulator. This design also reflects the theme of woven textiles and the activity within the building. The result is a very striking building which stands out, from its otherwise baron industrial surroundings, with its timber design.
“The designers also set out to achieve passive solar temperature control. This means that the building is only partially air conditioned. H20 architects worked closely with the builder, project engineers and the Timber Promotion Council. Leading northern European researchers specialising in timber facade systems were also consulted. A system was resolved utilising “double skins” either side of a thermal chimney which limit heat transfer to the building interior. The result is an environmentally responsive method of construction designed to regulate internal temperature.”
“The unique external cladding changes in appearance with varying light conditions, creating a visually dynamic effect. This is 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.”