A stellar example of adaptive reuse is being used to house and teach students at the University of Tasmania School of Architecture & Design. Formerly a 1951 diesel locomotive workshop, this award-winning conversion project preserves parts of the building’s industrial heritage while upgrading it with energy-efficient systems. Australian architecture firm Six Degrees led the project design in collaboration with Sustainable Built Environments to achieve an environmentally friendly design on a relatively modest budget of AUS$6.2 million.
Completed in 2007, the UTAS School of Architecture in Launceston was focused on ecologically sustainable design from the start. The architects kept the heritage warehouse’s sawtooth roof and airy industrial character, but also inserted an extra level to the originally single-story building to create 4,500 square meters of usable space. The arrangement of the interior were informed by passive solar studies; offices and classrooms were located on the east side while the workshop, Learning Hub, and some studio spaces were stacked on the west end. Under-floor heating, displacement ventilation, and labyrinth cooling were also used to minimize energy demands.
Australian plantation timber plywood is installed throughout to lend warmth in a palette primarily comprised of metal, glass, and concrete. “Our intention was to maximize the use of the existing building an continue its industrial architectural language through the building by revealing its structure,” the architects wrote in a design statement. “Simplicity is the principle that characterizes the building’s materiality. Materials in the palette have been used in their natural forms with minimal finishes applied.”
Images by Patrick Rodriguez