John Wardle Architects have grabbed an international Green Good Design award for their Melbourne School of Design – Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning project which is scheduled to open in December.

Designed in collaboration with Boston-based practice NADAAA, the $129 million, 15,700sqm building has also been awarded a 6 Star Green Star Education Design rating, becoming the only building to be awarded all 10 innovation points under Green Star.

The project was the only Australian project to be awarded at the inaugural Green Good Design awards. The program is a new category of the Good Design awards which began in 1950 and is a joint initiative hosted by The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design.

Related: 2014 BPN Sustainability Awards Finalists

The jury citation

Project Description

Image: John Gollings.

As a centrepiece to the University of Melbourne campus and as a pedagogical tool for the education of future designers and builders, the Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning was designed with a holistic approach to sustainability. In addition to meeting a five star Green Star rating, this approach includes criteria for the fabrication of the building, material selection, energy use, life cycle cost, day lighting, and a range of issues that impact the mechanical systems of the building- each playing a demonstrative part in the education of the user.


The 14,320sqm building’s disparate programs ranging from highly controlled theatre space, strictly scheduled seminar spaces, flexible teaching spaces, and round the clock occupation makes the mixed mode system particularly adaptable. In all but the coldest and hottest days the building utilises cross ventilation and vertical stack effect to ventilate the building. The exposed mechanical systems in the studios allow students to see when systems switch.

The composite structure utilises pre-cast concrete columns, poured in place floor slabs and beams, steel framed cantilever, CLT (cross laminated timber) floor infill, and LVL (laminated veneer lumber) long span beams, for the most efficient and with the lowest embodied energy applications.



The facade, including the roof, has multiple rolls to control light, to keep out the elements, and to present the face of the building. Precast facade panels reduces waste and installation efficiency saving in fuel and related pollution. Zinc shading fins (nearly 1,000sqm of customised perforated folded panels) are low in embodied energy when compared to aluminium and their orientations are optimized for each unique program and location for precise control of view glare and heat gain. Together the zinc panels and precast panels produce a powerful image of a building at once influenced by its environment not dictated.


The unique coffered roof, covering the central atrium, through its depth and geometry allow ample day lighting and controls glare. Its raised position also allows for the evacuation of hot air rising in the atrium below drawing fresh air from the perimeter.

Images: JWA unless stated.