The New Type of Australian Skyscraper

From integrated engineering solutions within high-rise precincts to water and energy reduction in tall buildings, the 2019 Australian Smart Skyscrapers Summit program aims to lead the Australian high-rise sector towards smarter and more sustainable high-rise development.

A potential framework for the creation of energy-efficient skyscrapers will be explored in the form of the Passive House standard, also known as ‘Passivhaus’ following its origination in Germany. The rigorously energy-efficient standard certainly holds up in low-rise buildings, exemplified by its four core principles covering continuous insulation throughout each structure, high-performance glazing, minimisation of thermal bridges, and airtight construction combined with heat recovery and mechanical ventilation. But how do these elements hold up when a building rises above 75 feet?

AMP Capital Head of Sustainability, Real Estate Chris Nunn will explore the viability of the Passive House standard within high-rise contexts. Also chair of the Australian Passive House Association, Chris will outline how passive house high-rises can spell an eco-friendly future for urban Australia.

In the race towards energy-efficient urban built environments, the role of eco-friendly high-rise elements in aiding and elevating tenant wellness is often underrepresented. The 3rd Australian Smart Skyscrapers Summit will showcase various local and international skyscrapers which are as socially sustainable as they are environmentally.

UNStudio’s Green Spine tower will act as a blueprint for the sky-high potential of green, human-friendly skyscraper design. Designed in conjunction with Cox Architecture, UNStudio Associate Director Jan Schellhoff will present on how the greening elements throughout the Southbank dual tower’s split core will benefit tenants and the broader urban precinct.

With his team after “an open and accessible piece of city,” Jan says the final design, dotted with green balcony shrubbery and a public rooftop ‘garden in the sky’, acted as “an extension of the envisioned green and pedestrian friendly Southbank Boulevard”. The splitting of the structure’s core into two separate buildings thus became central to the nature of the project, rendering the winning design of the Southbank by Beulah competition a unique yet accessible addition to the Melbourne skyline.

A heightened focus on rigorous eco-friendly standards and skyscrapers connecting to garden states below, away from traditional soulless ‘concrete jungles’ of skyscrapers past, signifies a slow yet steady approach toward a new type of Australian skyscraper. The more equipped we are with best practice solutions on successfully developing such skyscrapers, the better the outcomes will be, for present and future generations alike.

Joining Chris and Jan at the 3rd Australian Smart Skyscrapers Summit will be Skidmore Owings & Merrill’s Chicago Design Partner Scott Hudson, Property Council of Australia Victorian Executive Director Cressida Wall, HASSELL’s Andrew Low, and Mulpha Australia’s Design Manager Catherine Hart. The event will be held on the 25th and 26th of June, at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre.