Aurecon works with Murdoch University to deliver WA’s largest mass-engineered timber building in Perth.


Murdoch University's Building 360, Australia

Delivering WA’s largest mass-engineered timber building

  • Aurecon's Role: Civil and structural engineering, pedestrian modelling, traffic audits
  • Client: Murdoch University
  • Project Team: Lyons and Norman Disney & Young, Multiplex

The widespread recognition that tertiary education is a major driver of economic competitiveness in an increasingly knowledge-driven global economy has made it increasingly important for universities to reflect their sustainability values in their built form.

Aurecon is working in collaboration with Lyons, Norman Disney & Young and Murdoch University to deliver the Building 360 development at the South Street Campus in Perth.

Construction is underway on the four-storey building constructed from glulam and cross laminated timber, sourced from sustainable suppliers in Australia and Europe. The project is set to become the largest mass engineered timber building in Western Australia.

This project delivers on Murdoch University’s vision for a sustainable, innovative future that nurtures, supports and encourages students in the learning, social and professional spheres of their lives.

Western Australia’s largest mass engineered timber building

Aurecon is providing civil and structural engineering, as well as geotechnical engineering, pedestrian and traffic modelling, for this stunning timber building.

Recognising it as a catalyst for the state’s timber industry to emerge and scale up, Aurecon engaged with suppliers early, in organising a WA Timber Forum – a day long workshop with the local timber industry across ANZ in order to identify risks, challenges and opportunities with timber construction. The question we asked in this forum was “how do we go from a tree, into a building? What is the journey map whilst getting from A to B?”. This was an extremely insightful workshop which allows the design team to deeply understand the timber industry and the challenges the team face.

The crescendo of this project is the column free Northern Events Space. In this space, the main timber beam spans 30-metres, allowing an openness to the building that will foster an environment for social connection between students, staff and the community.

The project is a showcase for what is possible when assumptions are tested, boundaries are pushed, and close attention to detail triumphs over traditional methods of design and construction.

Aurecon’s experience in the design and construction of mass engineered timber buildings, such as Australia’s tallest commercial engineered timber building 25 King Street in Brisbane, Australia’s tallest residential engineered timber building Monterey Apartments in Brisbane, and one of the world’s largest mass engineered timber buildings at 40,000 square metres, Nanyang Technological University Academic Building South in Singapore, meant the team had a wealth of knowledge on which to draw for this project.

Defining sustainability features

The project team is targeting a 6 Star Green Star Ecologically Sustainable Development rating for its use of mass engineered timber, which has a lower carbon footprint than traditional building materials. The timber is precisely cut for prefabrication which reduces material waste and provides for safer onsite conditions for workers.

Timber is the hero of this building and the structural design responds intelligently and sensitively to the architectural intent by using contemporary construction systems to blend seamlessly into the design of the existing campus buildings.

Defining features of the façade include 75 per cent of the exterior as operable entry or window openings, and external sun shading to reduce heating and cooling requirements.

A large solar photovoltaic system on the rooftop will offset the building’s energy consumption, and rainwater will be captured for onsite storage and use.

Building 360 will create spaces where occupants want to spend time engaging with others, inevitably leading to more collaborative teaching and innovative learning outcomes. It will attract community members to visit the campus, consequently becoming a contributing element of the precinct by demonstrating the value and importance of well resolved sustainable design principles.

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