Monash University Building 17 Biology Building Façade and Refurbishment

WGE’s Melbourne team has been upgrading Building 17 at Monash University. Constructed in 1968, Building 17 is home to the Biology department and was due for an upgrade. The aging building had cracked facades, damage to the roof and services that were no longer meeting wellbeing requirements for occupants.

Minimal student disruption

As part of capital works program, works were carried out while the building was still occupied and fully functional as a teaching and laboratory space. This presented a number of challenges as the works involved replacement of the existing façade, upgrading services and ensuring the building structure is capable of accommodating the upgrades and supporting future building use.

Innovative design

Monash University also had an ambitious passive design policy where minimum compliance and conventional design was not good enough.

The façade design utilised an innovative approach using the latest construction materials to deliver the highest thermal performance. WGE were engaged for structural and thermal performance analysis and through an extensive design development process, the team helped develop a state of the art solution.

An insulated panel (SIPS) curtain wall system with non-flammable glass reinforced concrete (GRC) feature shading was developed. The SIPS panels where designed to be a unitised system with the moulded GRC panels built into the frame so they could be mounted externally while the existing façade remained in place.

Thermal analysis and stakeholder engagement helped facilitate the design process where key outcomes included a 39% reduction in solar gain, 24 % reduction in heating and cooling loads and a 17% increase in natural daylight penetration.

The construction methodology enabled the contractor to build the new façade whilst the building was fully operational, minimising impact to the occupants within an efficient construction time frame.

The result is a complete retransformation of a tired and dated building to a statement of modernity and exceptional performance.