Suzanne Cory High School is one of the two new selective entry schools in Melbourne. The design challenge was to create an exceptional learning environment for the area’s elite students, which also acted as an environmental learning resource. As environmental design consultants and building services engineers, Cundall collaborated with Brand Architecture to create not only a building that reduced its impact on the environment, but also demonstrated sustainable design in action.
The design was influenced by visibility. Engineering solutions are often hidden away within the buildings, where the occupants are not aware of the many systems that are creating the comfortable environment they are in. This was not the case with Suzanne Cory High School.
The 3-layer EFTE roof system, which covers the central 'agora' of the building, dramatically alters daylight and heat gain by inflating and deflating its pillows to alter the shading effect provided by the roof. Stormwater is visibly collected by open stormwater paths with treatment via bio-swales and ponds that double as a teaching resource. Extensive BMS for environmental control, data collection and display of building services to use as a teaching resource.
Passively tempered air is distributed via earth mounded thermal labyrinths, which provide up to 10°C cooling of outside air in summer and 8°C heating in winter. In addition to having their entry grates exposed, portholes have been introduced to view the fan systems and the plantroom was designed to provide access for teaching purposes. Instead of being hidden away, the earth mounded labyrinths provide the further benefits of creating an amphitheatre for external events and wind protection to the agora space when it is open to its surrounds.
By surrounding the students with cutting-edge sustainable design solutions that can been seen while learning, this will hopefully inspire students to use innovation and technology in problem solving in their current and future studies and create the next generation of engineers.
By way of further demonstration of its environmental credentials the school achieved a '5 Star' Green Star – Education V1 rating, representing ‘National Best Practice’.