Architecture, Hot and Cold

The collaboration between two Australian firms on Melbourne's new Council House 2 shows off the design possibilities for building-integrated HVAC

January 2008
[ Page 1 of 5 ]

By Russell Fortmeyer

Continuing Education

Use the following learning objectives to focus your study while reading this month’s ARCHITECTURAL RECORD / AIA Continuing Education article.

Learning Objective - After reading this article, you will be able to:

1. Discuss the environmental message of Melbourne's Council House 2.

2. Explain the methods used to save energy in the CH2 building.

3. Describe the benefits of using phase-change materials in a building's mechanical system.

• Go to test questions
• Go to reporting form online
• Download reporting form [pdf]

The city of Melbourne intended CH2–the Council House 2 building, which opened in August 2006–to exemplify the best of high-performance, sustainable design as a model to other Australian cities. The 10-story, 135,000-square-foot city office building, which occupies a dense block adjacent to an existing city building in the heart of Melbourne, incorporates a number of radical strategies, like sewer mining for nonpotable water and the use of phase-changing materials in lieu of conventional chillers for cooling water. But it's the integration of these performance strategies–particularly in the building's mechanical systems–with the architecture that makes CH2 stand out as a case study, even for less ambitious projects and designers.

Melbourne has long been considered a hotbed of architectural experimentation, a distinction that is waning, much like the diminished visual shock of the landmark Federation Square designed by Lab Architecture Studios that opened in 2002 [record, June 2003, page 109]. This penchant for wackiness is lately being replaced by a more overt expression of sustainable design, such as in Grimshaw Architects' naturally ventilated Southern Cross rail station [record, May 2007, page 243] and, just as visibly, in CH2, designed as a collaboration between DesignInc's Melbourne office and Sydney-based engineers Lincolne Scott. It's as if the designers of the Southern Cross and CH2 projects sought to fuse the city's past obsession with form-making to a more recent concern: climate change.

Recycled timber panels, which open and close depending on the sun, clad the west side of the CH2 building.
Photo © Dianna Snape

 

[ Page 1 of 5 ]
Originally published in the January 2008 issue of Architectural Record.

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