Education is influential. Many memories were made in our days as students, at either a primary, secondary or tertiary level. The lessons learnt both inside and out of the classroom shape us, with the spaces in which we work and play becoming embedded in a corner of our mind.

An educational building that is sustainable can set a precedent in a students’ life. Natural ventilation and light make for comfortable spaces that evoke feelings of warmth and calm. Efficient energy systems and recycled water may be utilised by students for their own personal properties in future. If we can teach these lessons early, it will have a long-lasting effect on those who utilise facilities within sustainable walls, and this is why it is paramount to create sustainably in an educational context.

Architecture and Design’s Sustainability Awards offers 12 categories that reward practices and people creating a sustainable built environment. The Education & Research award champions submissions that may be a child care centre, preschool, primary, secondary or tertiary educational facility or a facility where an educational institution is a partner.

ainsworth building

Architectus’ work in designing the Ainsworth Building at Macquarie University received the award in 2021. The purpose-built home of the university’s Medicine and Health Sciences faculty embodies the forward-thinking sustainability and environmental stewardship goals, with the building estimated to save the carbon emission equivalent of five to six years of energy consumption via the carbon sequestered within the timber frame.

The building comprises four levels of mass timber structure that channels the campus’ native woodland, with the biophilic palette connecting further with nature and evoking a sense of wellness. The highly environmentally harmonious design was a hit with the Sustainability Awards jury, and so was rightfully named the winner of its category.

In 2022, Timberlink has come on board as the category partner for Education & Research. Creating sustainably grown products in Australia and New Zealand, Timberlink is intent on creating tomorrow’s product today. The company describes timber as the ultimate renewable, and aims to account for sustainability in all of its business decisions. 

The 2022 Sustainability Awards is shaping up as the best ever edition of the event, as we return to a live capacity later this year in Sydney. Submissions are now open, make your application here