Location RMIT University, Dawson Street, Brunswick VIC
Project Completion 2000
Project Size 5,200m2
Project Description The RMIT University TCF&L Facility involved the construction and integrated fitout of a new 5,200 square metre, three storey building containing delivery areas for textile, clothing, footwear and leather programs. This project successfully responded to the university’s commitment to enrich its built environment through innovative architecture. The building accommodates textile facilities relocated from Pascoe Vale to the RMIT Brunswick Campus on Dawson Street, in Melbourne’s inner-north.
Designed to achieve passive solar temperature control, the building is only partially air conditioned. H2o architects worked closely with the builder, project engineers, the Timber Promotion Council and leading northern European researchers in timber facade systems to develop an environmentally responsive method of construction to regulate internal temperature. A system was resolved utilising “double skins” either side of a thermal chimney that limit heat transfer to the building interior. The ground floor exterior cladding is raw precast concrete, while the rest of the building is clad in western red cedar panels.
The unique external cladding changes in appearance with varying light conditions, creating a visually dynamic effect, reminiscent of the varied textures and patterns of the woven fabric produced by the building occupants. The cedar has been left untreated and is weathering to a silky grey. The campus, located in a neglected industrial area alongside a railway line, has been transformed into an engaging place of learning.