Construction Technology 3: Sustainability

Master Project Brief:

AkademeiaNomadika: A Lodge for Visiting Academics @ Swinburne University


In this unit you will explore methods and processes of green building design and construction through

an adaptive building re-use project. The project requires you to develop an ESD strategy, a sketch

model, a sketch design, and detailed documentation of the project’s green features. This will enable

you to demonstrate your capacity for detailed design decision-making and detailed project

documentation to ensure that all sustainability features are appropriately communicated for

construction. Because the construction industry is generally lacking in motivation to apply

sustainability in building, it is easy for a building’s green features to be left out of construction if not

properly documented. Good documentation is essential, as is appropriate supervision during


Master Project Scope

As part of the global marketplace of ideas, Universities regularly host visiting academics from

elsewhere in Australia and from overseas, as guest speakers or lecturers, or to collaborate on

research projects. Such academics are usually housed in off-campus accommodation, where the

opportunity for on-going academic interaction is limited. There is a need, then, for on-campus spaces

for short-term stays for nomadic academics. This project – a Visiting Academic Lodge – can be thought

of as an alternative to the conventional hotel. The lodge is to serve researchers in all disciplines. It will

provide the visiting academics with overnight or extended stays for academic work, conferences,

symposiums, seminars and small group retreat activities.

The project brief requires a sustainable design, construction and technology resolution of a residential

facility on Level 4 of the BA Building at the Swinburne University campus at Hawthorn. If you are also

enrolled in Interior Architecture Studio 4 Sustainability, it will complement with your first design project

redesigning parts of levels 1, 2 and 3 of the same building. While projects for both Units are notionally

separate, design responses can consider any links between the two project briefs, but this is not

essential. For those only enrolled in Construction 3 Sustainability, this major project can be attempted

without reference to the design projects attached to Interior Architecture Studio 4 Sustainability.

During the next 12 weeks you will be undertaking a sustainable design, technical planning and

documentation process. The first 6 weeks of the semester will focus on development of an overall

ESD (Ecologically Sustainable Development) strategy including technical and precedent research

leading to preliminary design processes to deliver documentation typical of the Development

Application stage. The second 6 weeks focus on technical resolution, detail design and documentation

ready for construction, consistent with the ESD Strategy.


The design of AkademeiaNomadika should allow for the following spaces:

• Entry lobby and reception


• Waiting area and luggage store

• Self-catering kitchen with adequate food storage spaces and refrigeration

• Communal Lounge and Library area

• Small workshop and seminar rooms (3 minimum) and 1 larger seminar/exhibition space

• 10 to15 Bedrooms/studio spaces for 2 or more as private rooms with bathroom.

• Public circulation and access to all areas, allowing for existing stairs, lifts and escalators

• Small outdoor/semi-open spaces, such as balconies/skygardens


The design of AkademeiaNomadika is to be an example of leading edge sustainable design,

addressing the following issues:

• Adaptive building re-use

• Passive design to minimise demand for artificial heating and cooling

• Consideration of external shading and window treatments

• Design to minimise interstitial condensation, thermal bridging and air infiltration

• Design to maximise daylighting, especially in public areas and lounge areas

• Glazing placement and specification to optimise thermal performance and energy efficiency

• Re-use and re-purposing of existing demolition materials

• Understanding of structure as a precursor to any structural manipulations and extensions

• Material specifications based on contribution to thermal performance, acoustic performance,

indoor environment quality, lifecycle and durability standards including environmental impact

during manufacture, recycled content and recyclability, and eco-labelling/environmental ratings

• Energy efficient heating, cooling, hot water, lighting, refrigeration, appliances and fittings

• Water saving fittings for showers, taps, toilets

• Rainwater harvesting and re-use

• Wastewater treatment and re-use

• Transport and mobility issues for occupants

• Design to limit and manage construction waste

• Use of Green Building Council of Australia Green Star Interiors V1 Tool as guidance

• Application of Building Code of Australia Section J Energy Efficiency requirements

And remember, an important aspect of sustainability is durability: so selection of materials and finishes

must be informed by appropriate durability for the location, and detailing of the external envelope must

be carried out prevent infiltration of air and water through joints between materials and building


Also note that any approach to sustainability must harmonise any relevant social factors concerning

the usage needs and patterns of the occupants and their relationship to the university community.

Site Analysis

We will carry out a group site inspection of Level 4 of the BA building during the Week 1 tutorials. The

purpose of the visit is to familiarise yourself with the site and the existing drawings (downloadable on

Blackboard). Level 4 is readily accessible, so any information missed on the site visit can be collected

on follow-up visits.

You will need to identify the following elements, including taking images:

• Wastewater treatment and re-use

• Structural systems

• Enclosing elements (walls, glazing and other external openings)

• Services such as toilets, water, switchboards, fire hose reels etc.

• Internal fitout items: ceilings, doors, built-in furniture and joinery

• Finishes to floors walls ceilings

• Take check measurements to determine if drawings match constructed work or to allow for

aspects of the building that have been altered, but are not shown.


Project 1: Exploration of Site Issues and Sustainable Construction Techniques

ESD Strategy Report:

• Prepare a Report showing site/building analysis, research into potential green building

technologies and your broad strategy for ensuring a sustainable design using the Greenstar


Interiors V1 tool as a guide. You can access the tool and supporting information from Hand-in a

hard copy at your tutorial and submit a PDF version via Blackboard.


Building information