The Woodside Building for Technology and Design, Australia


The Woodside Building for Technology and Design, Australia

Largest educational building in the world to achieve Passive House certification

  • Aurecon’s role: Structural, civil, electrical, mechanical, hydraulics, fire protection, sustainability, acoustics, wind and facade engineering
  • Client: Monash University
  • Project partners: Lendlease, Grimshaw Architects

Aurecon’s integrated design approach helped Melbourne’s Monash University bring to life the innovative Woodside Building for Technology and Design, the largest educational building in the world to achieve Passive House certification.

The Woodside Building for Technology and Design is a landmark building at Monash University’s Clayton campus, representing the latest thinking in tertiary education and world-leading energy efficient building design.

Reflecting Monash University’s commitment to achieving Net Zero Emissions by 2030, the Woodside Building for Technology and Design has achieved the rigorous Passive House certification, making it one of the most efficient and innovative teaching buildings in Australia and the largest Passive House project in the Southern Hemisphere.

Passive House is a voluntary, internationally recognised building standard that is granted to buildings that achieve higher standards of thermal comfort, energy efficiency and lower energy costs than most commercial buildings.

The building uses solar as one of its energy sources and reflects international best practice in energy performance and thermal comfort.

The Woodside Building for Technology and Design has been created to enable Monash University engineering and IT students and researchers to embrace innovation, design and cutting-edge technology to develop new solutions in sustainable energy.

Aurecon’s integrated design approach helped bring to life this innovative teaching building, with project partners Lendlease and Grimshaw Architects, applying the Passive House building standards and designing the building as a living laboratory to redefine next practice in building design, teaching and learning practices.

It allows students and researchers to explore new energy possibilities to solve tomorrow's questions for the good of current and future generations, through exposed building services, structural elements and unique features such as structural health monitoring systems and thermal piles to help students learn from the building.

The building houses many learning spaces, including an interactive tiered collaborative space that can accommodate 360 people.

Applying Passive House building standards

Passive House dares to demand higher thermal comfort, increased energy efficiency and lower energy costs from buildings.

The Woodside Building for Technology and Design provides significant sustainability benefits, including:

  • Drastically reduced energy demands and subsequent operating costs
  • High thermal comfort and quality of occupant experience
  • High indoor air quality, health and well-being
  • Balanced heat recovery ventilation
  • Continuous insulation around the building envelope
  • Building airtightness
  • Designed to maximise daylight

Aurecon has developed significant eminence in applying Passive House design principles to projects, also delivering building services (fire engineering, mechanical and electrical, hydraulics), façade design as well as construction monitoring and energy performance modelling for the Ngā Kāinga Anamata pilot project for New Zealand’s largest housing developer, Kāinga Ora.

Aurecon also provided building services engineering and sustainability consulting, including designing to Passive House principles, for the Monash University Chancellery building.

Bringing to life a living laboratory

A living laboratory can be described as an innovation network based on the philosophy of open innovation. In the Woodside Building for Technology and Design, visual access to the workings of the building enable students and researchers to learn from its physical design and building services.

Visual access to plant rooms through glazed windows provide an insight into the role of different components of plant equipment, and some areas of the raised floor are laminated glass with LED back lighting for students to see how the mechanical, electrical and hydraulic services function.

Structural steelwork and exposed piles include sensors that show how stresses and vibrations on structural elements change in different load conditions and temperatures.

The building will become a part of the educational pedagogy for formal and informal learning. Its performance data on structure and building services will be available to students and researchers for research purposes.

Buildings that are truly inspired for the future demonstrate an understanding that the physical environment is not stagnant. The Woodside Building for Technology and Design is fluid and dynamic, flexible in its design and adaptable to future uses. It delivers a transformative educational experience for students, academics, researchers, the community and industry collaborators to learn and innovate.


The Woodside building was selected to feature at the COP26 UN Climate Conference in Glasgow in November 2021 as one of 17 projects from around the world demonstrating opportunities for sustainability in the built environment. It is one of two Passive House projects engineered by Aurecon, and one of only two projects from Australasia, along with Ngā Kāinga Anamata showcased at the conference.

The project has won the following awards:

  • Australian Institute of Architecture – National Architecture Awards 2021 – Grimshaw in collaboration with Monash University:
    • David Oppenheim Award for Sustainable Architecture
    • Sir Zelman Cowan Award for Public Architecture
  • Australian Institute of Architecture Awards 2021 – Victoria Division – Grimshaw in collaboration with Monash University:
    • Victorian Architecture Medal
    • Melbourne Prize
    • Colorbond Award for Steel Architecture
    • Award for Educational Architecture
    • Award for Sustainable Architecture
  • OneConsult Awards for Excellence 2021 – High Commendation: Superior Sustainability
  • Engineers Australia – Australian Engineering Excellence Awards 2020 – Victoria Division
  • Sustainability Awards 2020 – Education & Research

Read more from the team who worked on the Monash University’s Woodside Building for Technology and Design:

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