Monash Chancellery, Melbourne, Australia

A Passive House design delivering thermal comfort and energy efficiency

  • Aurecon’s role: Sustainability consulting including Passive House design, building design services including mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, fire protection and vertical transport
  • Client: Monash University
  • Project partners: ARM Architecture (with project partners Geyer Architecture and Planning), Norman Disney & Young, Kane Construction, Irwinconsult, Slattery, Donald Cant Watts Corke and Inhabit

Aurecon provided building services engineering and sustainability consulting, including Passive House design, to help Monash University create a building that is a beacon of thermal comfort and energy efficiency.

Located at the forefront of Monash University’s campus at Clayton, Victoria, the Monash Chancellery building provides a ceremonial statement and modern flexible workplace for the university’s executive team, doubling as a celebratory event venue for hosting distinguished guests and visitors. The building comprises a ground-level event spaces, two levels of office space, a third level to house the university executive and a single basement level for car parking.

Designed to Passive House principles, the building provides significant performance benefits, including drastically reduced energy demands and subsequent costs, high thermal comfort and quality of occupant experience, high indoor air quality, health and well-being and resilient, adaptive and future-ready features.

Monash University has developed the Monash Net Zero Strategy to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. A key part of this is a commitment to deliver all new buildings to a high-performance standard, from both an energy efficiency and occupancy comfort perspective.

With a long-established tradition in providing excellence in education, Monash University envisioned its new chancellery building as a transformative structure. To deliver this bespoke, high-performance building, Aurecon was engaged by the university to provide sustainability consulting, including Passive House design, and building services including mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, fire protection, and vertical transport.

Designed to Passive House principles

Passive House is a rigorous, integrated design process and holistic construction certification standard characterised by five design principles and performance criteria, which ensure a design delivers a very high performance and comfort for the lifetime of the building.

A Passive House building will be designed in accordance with building science principles governing thermal insulation, high-performance windows and facade, high efficiency mechanical systems, airtightness, and thermal bridge-free construction. Aurecon worked with the other project team members to ensure the architectural vision of an iconic building respecting the traditions of mid-20th Century design could be delivered with 21st Century comfort and energy efficiency.

Comfort and high performance

Delivering thermal comfort to a building, while ensuring high performance from an energy perspective, is challenging. To achieve this balance, Aurecon’s project team designed an out-of-the-box solution which is unique in Australia.

The team also used a custom Aurecon Design Wave and Methodology to guide the project’s ongoing collaboration and focus on innovation. Key stakeholders were heavily involved in the decision-making process and idea sessions, including engagement through numerous workshops, meetings and other collaborative sessions.

To ensure best-value outcomes, Aurecon successfully completed:

  • A customised 90-day plan, outlining the project team’s commitments to Monash University
  • Design to Innovate Workshop sessions with project disciplines and key stakeholders
  • Integration and design of key aspirations, including Passive House aspiration and a low energy, carbon-neutral building
  • Building a global connection with the Passive House Institute in Germany
  • Providing lifecycle cost advice

The building has been designed in accordance with the Monash University Eco-Accord, a design tool containing the university’s built environment aspirations.

It is through this unique design, which strikes the strategic balance between functionality and flexibility, that the Monash Chancellery building, completed in December 2019, is a beacon of Australia’s leading building projects in the energy efficiency and high-performance space.


The project has won the following awards:

  • Winner: Australian Institute of Architecture –  Victoria Chapter Awards 2020 – Henry Bastow Award for Educational Architecture
  • Winner: Australian Institute of Architecture –  Victoria Chapter Awards 2020 – Interior Architecture Award
  • Winner: Australian Institute of Architecture –  Victoria Chapter Awards 2020 – Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture – ARM Architecture

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