The Hindmarsh Council’s corporate offices design by k20 Architecture draws inspiration from the region’s local rural vernacular of wheat silos which are typically clad in sheet metal, as well as the region’s agricultural shed.

The new Council and Community facility utilises the principles of the Green Star rating system and incorporates a range of bespoke sustainable design features that includes: underground thermal chambers; earth pipe heat exchange system; LED lighting systems throughout; solar panels; recycling of over 80% of the existing building’s materials and one of the three original buildings was retained and repurposed; a primary structure of sustainably sourced laminated timber beams; zoned mechanical system; passive solar design, cross-flow ventilation principles and zoned motion-detection lighting.

Key initiatives:

  • Constructing thermal chambers underground via earth tubes that extend into under-floor ventilation plenums, so that fresh air is drawn in from the exterior and cooled (or warmed) naturally by the earth before being redistributed back throughout the building via air displacement plenums and occupant-adjustable floor grilles
  • Adoption of a highly performing air displacement system which places the air supply grilles at the building’s floor level within a highly insulated floor plenum to enhance the occupant’s thermal comfort band with the benefit of reduced operational costs. This system delivers the freshest air supply closest to the occupied space and this system further enhances the health benefits to its occupants through improved quality of air
  • Earth pipe heat exchange system pre-tempers fresh external air before it is introduced into the building, saving up to 60% of the energy required to cool or heat the required fresh air supply
  • LED lighting systems were selected for reduced energy consumption and maintenance within the main workspaces
  • 72 190W solar panels were installed on the roof to harvest energy to offset energy consumption and returning power back to the grid
  • Over 80% of the existing building’s materials were recycled before the existing infrastructure was demolished, while one of the three original buildings was retained and repurposed in order to minimise the embodied energy within the building’s design
  • Very little steel was used for structuration and where it was used, for example in concrete reinforcement, it was recycled steel
  • k20 Architecture custom-designed the primary structure adopting laminated veneer lumber timber structure system. The source of the timber for the beams was sustainably sourced Vic Ash timber
  • Passive solar design and cross-flow ventilation principles and zoned motion-detecting lighting informed design
  • An electronic control and monitoring system

Images: Peter Bennetts, copyright of k20 Architecture.