k20 Architecture's Hindmarsh Shire Council Corporate Centre in Victoria, Australia, is an impressive sustainable building that incorporates cutting-edge design while respecting local culture and tradition. Many of these design elements, including natural ventilation and cooling systems, will help to reduce the building's carbon footprint over its lifespan. The team even placed an emphasis on utilizing the principles of the Green Star rating system to assess and implement measure to improve the building's impact on the environment.
The Hindmarsh Shire building is in a region of Australia that is exposed to extreme temperatures, and therefore k20 Architecture began their adaptation by creating a building envelope with great thermal performance. The building also was constructed with underground thermal chambers that take natural ventilation and cools the air before it is redistributed throughout the building. This helps to create a cool fresh air supply throughout the building, while contributing to enhance the internal work environment.
The design of this corporate building was also part of an effort to minimize the embodied energy that was required to construct the facility that Hindmarsh Shire Council needed. Therefore, one of the older 1960s-era buildings was retained for re-purposing and 80% of the existing materials were recycled during demolition. Since the materials of the building were also important to the client, the building’s design included laminated timber products from a local sustainably sourced Vic Ash timber company. The final design helps to connect to the identity of the region as a hub for wheat production. Folded metal exterior cladding reference the history of steel agricultural sheds within the region.
Most importantly, the k20 Architecture group designed a building with an electronic control and monitoring system to help track the performance of the building’s systems. The building was designed utilizing passive solar design, cross-flow ventilation, and zoned motion-detecting lighting. Over time the energy consumption of the building can be monitored and adjusted in order to make a positive impact on the environment of Nhill, Victoria.