This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere

At nearly 70,000 square feet, Gillies Hall at Monash University
in Australia has
become the country’s largest Passive House-certified building.
The school has a population of about 4,000 students, most of whom
are studying subjects of early childhood education, physiotherapy
and nursing. Since the building was opened, modeling has maintained
indoor temperatures between 22 °C (71 °F) and 24 °C (75 °F)
throughout the year.

close-up of red cladding on an apartment building

At the forefront of the project was the usage of cross-laminated
timber (or CLT), which inspired much of the design for the
building’s interior. CLT is a type of prefabricated, solid wood
paneling that is both lightweight and strong and is widely
considered to have a low environmental impact in construction
projects. Aside from providing superior thermal insulation, its
simple and quick installation generates minimal waste onsite.

Related: LEED Platinum UCSB student housing harnesses
California’s coastal climate

room with wood ceilings, a glass wall and several study tables

According to Simon Topliss, project director for Jackson
Clements Burrows Architects, “CLT was a wonderful, low-carbon
solution and is a robust, structural product with a warmth that
concrete doesn’t have.” Close to 50 percent of the entire
building’s internal walls and the partition walls in each
apartment were made using CLT.

On the left, study tables in a neutral-colored room. On the right, bag hanging on a hook in a dorm room.

There are two wings of apartments on each
residential floor, each joined by a connective “knuckle,”
allowing the building’s circulation to integrate with the
communal kitchen, lounge and study. There are glazed, open stairs
with outside views connecting to other floors as well.

students playing table tennis in a recreation room

In Australia, Passive
-certified projects typically cost 6 to 10 percent extra
to construct but use about 70 percent less energy than conventional
buildings. The region where Gillies Hall was built often sees a
large number of extremely hot summer days, so plenty of shading and
cross-ventilation methods were implemented in order to keep the
building within the temperature standards of Passive House

student dorm with red and wood walls and a large window

The project was completed in 19 months, just in time for
students to move in for the 2019 school year. Topliss said that the
commitment to fostering community was one of the main focuses for
the design of the building. “So we wanted to take every design
opportunity to create spaces for students to socialize, play and
study together,” Topliss explained. “There is one resident
adviser per 30 students, and floor planning was developed around
this model.”

+ Jackson Clements Burrows


Photography by Peter Clarke via Jackson Clements Burrows

Source: FS – All – Ecology – News 2
This student housing is the largest Passive House-certified building in the Southern Hemisphere