When BVN Architecture was designing the new dormitories for Monash University, they focused on the residents’ experience rather than just ensuring they met the spatial requirements. The project consists of two, 5-story buildings flanking a central common courtyard from which access is gained. Each building contains 300 private studios that each enjoy floor to ceiling windows, views a kitchenette, en suite bathroom and built in furniture. While the rooms are only 20 sm2 (212 sq ft), the buildings provide additional shared space by way of kitchen facilities for every 30 students and double height common rooms. The idea was to create as much opportunity for the students to connect as possible in order to encourage community and collegiality, and minimize the chance for anyone to feel lonely or isolated.
The articulated facades feature timber paneling to give movement to the volumes and help them blend in more with the surrounding woodsy landscape. Stormwater run-off was reduced through selection of surface materials and appropriate planting. The roof harvests rainwater and stores it in an 100,000 liter tank, while grey water from baths, showers and kitchen sinks is collected, cleaned, and stored for use in toilet flushing and irrigation. A 2,000 m2 solar system on the roof provides electricity for the buildings. Overall the project was awarded 5 stars in the Green Star rating program from the Green Building Council Australia. The project is also the first university project to be completed under the National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS), which was established as part of the nation building fund formed in response to the Global Financial Crisis.
Images ©BVN Architecture