The University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia has opened a new $32m Global Change Institute (GCI) building on its St Lucia campus.
Designed by architectural firm Hassell, the building features an operable sun shading system that will track the sun and protect the glass louvers that facilitate natural ventilation most of the year.
The air flows across occupied spaces to the central atrium, which acts as the building’s lungs and discharges warm air via its thermal chimney.
The facility uses sculptural Geopolymer precast floor panels and the translucent ETFE atrium roof to allow natural light into the interior, while insulating the structure from the sun’s heat.
Other sustainable features of the building include a green wall, bush tucker garden and bio-retention basin.
The building also features a rainwater storage system, which can store 60,000l of water.
Hassell principal Mark Roehrs said the building ‘moves away from a framework of consumption of the world’s resources to one that contributes to the restoration and regeneration of the environment’.
"The building will produce more pollution-free energy than it consumes and be carbon neutral in operation," Roehrs said.
Hassell said that in closed ventilation mode, air is pre-cooled through a labrinyth before a free-energy comfort conditioning system cools and dehumidifies the air using a heat recovery sensible wheel and dessicant thermal wheel.
GCI director Ove Hoegh-Guldberg said the building had to be functional, as well as help the university’s researchers better understand how to maximise a space in a sub-tropical environment.
"The building is designed to work with the natural environment and it will operate as a net zero-energy and carbon neutral workplace."
Image: The Global Change Institute building features an operable sun shading system. Photo: Courtesy of Hassell.