by , 12/05/05


Admittedly, sustainable design isn?t exactly the core reason for this post, but the Chancellery Building and Business School at Edith Cowan University provides some breathtaking imagery that?s just too delicious to pass up. Located in Western Australia on the Joondalup Campus, this collection of structures was designed by Hassell, in association with FJMT, to give the campus an iconic recognizable landmark. Although the building?s skyline and delicate louvers are similar to Renzo Piano?s Tjibaou Cultural Center, the building?s use of a sustainable hardwood solar screen is what has us excited.

A majority of the architectural expression occurs along the building?s two major axis, where massive jarrah wood and steel structures are connected by aluminum louvers and delicate jarrah wood screens. This feathered composition creates a solar screen, shielding several exterior student gathering spaces, while reducing heat gain on interior work spaces, the caf?, bookshop, and gallery spaces.

Native to Australia, the jarrah tree is a hardwood tree which grows about 120? tall and 9? in diameter at the base. Evidently the wood looks a lot like mahogany and is termite resistant- which sounds too good to be true! While the jarrah tree is not a fast-growing species, the Australian government has begun to oversee logging, ensuring that jarrah is sustainably harvested.

+ Chancellery Building and Business School

also see: Architecture Australia

While we found much information regarding sustainable jarrah practices at Gunns Limited, we have since learned that they have developed a reputation as one of Australia’s biggest destroyers of native forests, having done little to promote the Australian and Tasmanian ecosystems. Readers, your insights into Gunns, jarrah wood harvesting, and Australian native species are welcome! We encourage you to post anything here for the sake of dialog and education.

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  1. NK December 15, 2005 at 1:47 am

    Wow! Seems we were mighty hasty in assuming the best in not only Gunns, but also the Australian Government. Thanks for giving us a little insight into the true nature of the situation. It seems as though there are alot of people out there who are well informed on the subject- hopefully some coordinated activism will someday shift the national policies on jarrah wood.
    As always, we welcome your corrections and comments – as well as any environmentally friendly sources of jarrah wood that might be available.

  2. CJ December 14, 2005 at 11:50 pm

    Having read your post on this wonderful building I read the last sentence and began to reach for my unsustainable plastic keyboard in a fit of sustainable pique! To add to the end note for your readers – the current Australian Government also has one of the worst environmental records in history and actively supports Gunns in their deforestation of Tasmania’s wilderness, unsustainable industry practices and dubious workplace standards. The Australian Government is not supporting sustainable harvesting of Jarrah or any other hardwood timber. Plantation pine is about all they’ll concede to and then only to support eco-indifferent companies in the name of buying forestry worker votes in marginal electorates.

    Last year Gunns served writs on 20 groups, including the Wilderness Society, Doctors for Forests, the Huon Valley Environment Centre and the Greens Party claiming over AU$6.3m in damages. After a year through the courts this claim was dismissed by the Justice as ‘incoherent’. Didn’t stop them refiling it though.

    Sorry if this sounds like a soapbox rant but this company really is a blight on the Australian landscape. The only upside is that its share price recently plummeted.

    Gunns’ use the internet for propaganda purposes just as they use the legal system to stifle protest. Beware.

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