Melbourne Connect, University of Melbourne, Australia

Collaboration to amplify innovation for the University of Melbourne

  • Melbourne Connect Precinct:
    • Aurecon’s role: Film, imagery and virtual reality through Unsigned Studio
    • Melbourne Connect Precinct client: Lendlease
    • Melbourne Connect Precinct architect: Woods Bagot
  • Melbourne School of Engineering:
    • Aurecon’s role: Environmental sustainable design (ESD) fit out
    • Melbourne School of Engineering fitout client: University of Melbourne
    • Melbourne School of Engineering fitout architect: Hassell

Anchored by the University of Melbourne, a new innovation precinct in Melbourne’s north will bring groups together with working spaces, amenities, open space and the Melbourne chapter of the Science Gallery International network.

Researchers, academics, students, companies, government bodies, start-ups, artists and community groups are supported in co-located spaces; nurturing an ecosystem for creating innovative solutions to solve the challenges our societies face today around climate change, food security, health, design, technology and exploration.

Melbourne Connect is a leading innovation centre and the University has been on a journey to develop the 74 000 square metre precinct, to attract global academia, research and innovation specialists. It will accommodate more than 500 students and visiting academics, and will include shops, retail outlets, a childcare centre, co-working spaces and commercial office spaces.

Launching the unique project using creative technology and visualisation

Aurecon’s Unsigned Studio worked in collaboration with Lendlease to produce a film, imagery, 360-degree virtual reality experience and digital content to launch the project to the world.

The film describes the 'what, who, where and why' of the precinct for public audiences. It showcases the mixed uses of the spaces and the strategic importance of the project for Melbourne as a knowledge city. Watch below.

The Melbourne Connect digital content app is an interactive platform that enables the developer to share collateral and content with stakeholders. Along with the film and stills, the app displays view-line photography and features an interactive massing model with a 360-degree panoramic experience.

The interactive massing model can be explored by the user and adapted as the navigation menu, linking through to a series of 360-degree panoramic animations of key areas throughout Melbourne Connect.

Designing a sustainable workspace for Melbourne School of Engineering

Aurecon’s sustainability consultants were engaged by the University of Melbourne to provide advice on the environmentally-sustainable design elements for Melbourne School of Engineering’s fitout within the commercial tower. The sustainability consultants applied their unique combination of modelling, analysis, sustainable building design and facilitation skills.

The University of Melbourne has a clear commitment in its 2017 – 2020 Sustainability Plan to embed sustainability into all facets of its operations:

  • Carbon neutrality before 2030
  • Zero net emissions from electricity by 2021
  • Reducing mains water usage by 12 per cent by 2020
  • Reducing waste to landfill to 20 kg per person by 2020

Aurecon’s sustainability and well-being strategy developed for the Melbourne School of Engineering fitout at Melbourne Connect addresses the University’s commitment to sustainability, health and well-being. A complementary set of sustainability ratings are targeted as part of the Melbourne School of Engineering fitout:

  • 6 Star Green Star Interiors v1.2
  • WELL V2 Gold
  • 5 Star NABERS Energy, Tenant
  • 4.5 Star NABERS Water, Whole Building

It is the first WELL Building Standard that the University of Melbourne has sought to achieve and is based on the design and operational learnings from the Space Lab pilot project. WELL Certification is a tangible component of embedding and delivering sustainability and wellbeing in the MSE 2025 Sustainability Roadmap.

The Melbourne School of Engineering facilities will be in the commercial tower and will provide up to 15 000 square metres of net lettable area for up to a 1000 professional and academic staff, research higher degree students and industry partners over eight levels.

The sustainability designed interior will be a collection of inclusive spaces as a melting pot where partners can develop different ideas and identify what’s trending in today’s exciting world of disruption and incubation.

Social and collaboration spaces have been distributed vertically and are linked by an interconnecting stairway between the work floors. Individual workspaces are located in quieter parts of each floor. The space will deliver a high level of health and well-being, expected in a world-leading engineering school.

As the sustainability consultant, Aurecon played an important role in gathering the internal support at Melbourne School of Engineering to move to Melbourne Connect and change the way of working and thinking that aligns to the future of education: collaboration, innovation, incubation and partnerships.

Aurecon participated in user group consultation workshops and facilitated presentations with the university’s stakeholders. This allowed staff, students, industry partners and stakeholders to provide their feedback on the interior design, sustainability achievements and design.

A human centric approach to the design is ensuring that the interior design will be meaningful for the people who will ultimately use the space.

Key sustainability initiatives contribute to Melbourne School of Engineering’s goals of:

  • Energy efficiency of the workspaces through LED lighting and high efficiency appliances to reduce running costs
  • Choosing environmentally-friendly materials to reduce carbon emissions in the building supply chain
  • Minimising construction and operational waste to lower environmental impact
  • Maximising clean air in the building and incorporating natural sources of daylight for increased well-being
  • Promoting health and well-being with visible and accessible internal stairs for physical activity

Designed as a smart building, there are digital signage and wayfinding, and sensors and energy monitors to enable building managers to track energy efficiency in real time. Showcasing highly innovative design and technology, the precinct will be a significant contribution to Melbourne’s iconic urban landscape.

Aurecon is proud to contribute to a project that connects global ideas and innovations of the future, and a place where incredible futures emerge.

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