Australian Timber Design Awards 2015

Melbourne School of Design - overall winner of the 2015 Australian Timber Design Awards

The overall winner of the 2015 Australian Timber Design Awards was the Melbourne School of Design by  John Wardle Architects and NADAAA.

The judges described this as  an inspiring example of complex green design.

The three storey Melbourne School of Design at the University of Melbourne – which also won Excellence in Timber Design – Public or Commercial Buildings – is a showcase of the very best that can be achieved with structural timber. LVL engineered box beams and coffers span its 20 metre wide atrium, acting both as sun shades and structural restraints. The Judges were effusive in their praise for the manner in which the timber framed and lined building envelope is suspended from two of the overhead LVL beams.

Timber features heavily also in the decorative elements of the design. The selection and working of the timbers shows exceptional understanding of the material and lends warmth to the complex structural design.

The Melbourne School of Design is listed as a Six Green Star Design and is the first education facility to be awarded the maximum ten Green Star innovation credits. Timber was critical to this, having been used to reduce the overall carbon footprint of the building.

Occupying six levels, the facility includes a series of studio spaces, a studio hall and atrium, lecture theatres, a library, exhibition spaces and specialist workshop areas. It also integrates two significant historical elements, the 1856 facade of the Bank of NSW and the ‘Japanese Room’.

The building serves as a hub for undergraduate and graduate education, enabling critical interdisciplinary exploration into issues of sustainability in built environments through its external structure and internal design. The building itself is a laboratory for experimentation and research.

Situated in the centre of the historic core of the University’s Parkville campus, the building creates urban spaces that emphasise occupation and pedestrian movements. It responds to the existing historic fabric of its immediate surroundings and to the opening up of activities at its perimeter. A transparent ground plane reveals the building to passers by and encourages further engagement between the building and the broader campus community.

Melbourne School of Design
Melbourne School of Design - Image: Peter Bennetts


Architect:  John Wardle Architects in collaboration with NADAAA (Boston)
Builder:  Brookfield Multiplex Constructions
Images: Peter Bennetts

To view all the winners of the 2015 Australian Timber Design Awards in eBook format, CLICK HERE