Wurun Senior Campus

Melbourne, Australia


Submitted By: GHD

Owner: Victorian School Building Authority

Lead Design Firm, Civil, Structural and MEP Engineer: GHD

General Contractor: BESIX Watpac

Architect: Grimshaw

The Wurun Senior Campus folds around a street corner in Melbourne, Australia, a modern school set to equip its more than 650 students with 21st-century skills in an experimental learning space that is integrated with the local community and built environment.

The terraced structure is designed to use 100% renewable energy and features a facade blade system and double glazing that combine to make the campus comfortable year-round— maximizing light and views but minimizing glare and heat.

The project team overcame the key challenges of an unmovable delivery time frame, contaminated ground conditions and having to manage design variations remotely amid COVID-19 restrictions, says Mark Baker, CEO of BESIX Watpac, the project’s contractor.

The overall design—with steel beams, Bondek, shear studs and a 150-mm slab that includes precast cores and walls— reduced transportation requirements as well as associated noise and pollution for the inner-city suburb, providing students with a unique learning environment.

Wurun Senior Campus

Photo courtesy of Matthew Seebeck

“On the rooftop, photovoltaic panels generate approximately 22,000 watts of energy at peak, coinciding with peak school usage,” says Martin Palmer, director of architecture at design firm GHDWoodhead—formed in 2014 when Australian firm Woodhead became part of GHD’s international team.

“It’s a unique experience for kids to be able to kick a ball around on the roof with views of the city and Edinburgh Gardens at lunchtime,” says Ben Lyon, GHD structural engineer.

Bringing together two high schools, the campus features flexible, adaptable and technology-rich spaces in a stepped building with abundant light, airflow, views and recreational spaces. Jason Embley, principal at Grimshaw Architects, says those features demonstrate Wurun’s focus on students.

“Our aim is to empower and inspire the students of Wurun Senior Campus through their vertical school environment,” he says.

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