Adelaide: University of Adelaide’s new 6 star green star rating building, Innova 21

Innova 21 is a leader in the next generation of modern sustainable structures.

Opened on June 14, the new Innova 21 building stands at the heart of the North Terrace campus of the University of Adelaide. It is an eight level building valued at AU$100 million that is the new home of the university’s Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences (ECMS) and the largest project that has been undertaken at the university to date. Amongst the continuous disruption that all the construction has created at the university campus over the past two and half years the final product, so far at least, appears to be well worth the wait for the university’s staff and students.

Innova 21 features many firsts for Australia in building design that make it a leader in the next generation of sustainable structures. The building is the first educational facility to receive a 6 star green star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia and one of a few buildings given this rating alongside others such as the Melbourne Convention Centre and Sydney’s Space office building at 1 Bligh Street. Sustainable features in Innova 21’s design include:

  • Internal cooling loops built into the concrete floors (Active slab technology)
  • Underfloor air distribution system for natural air ventilation
  • Double-glazed curtain glass wall to allow natural light into the building whilst keeping the heat out
  • Rainwater harvesting through a 500,000L underground water tank for toilets and irrigation
  • A Tri generation plant on the roof which provides electricity, heating and cooling for the building
  • An inflated ETFE roofing system (air between two layers of ETFE) for the next exhibition hall, which is the same method that was applied for the exterior walls of Beijing’s Water Cube
  • A Building Management System (BMS) which is a built in system to reduce the building’s energy consumption

The sustainable elements of the design not only feature in the completed product, but also in its construction. The concrete used in the building contains flyash, a byproduct from burning coal which would otherwise be wasted in landfills. This flyash makes concrete stronger and reduces the need for the use of Portland cement which is a major producer of greenhouse gases in the construction industry.

Some parts of the building are not presently open at the time of writing (the computer suites) but the way it blends in with its surroundings is stunning, particularly where the new exhibition hall in the building connects to the existing brick facade of the much older Engineering North Building. The following photos are of the building’s construction in August 2008:

The following photos are following the building completion in June 2010:

The exhibition space that provides a stunning constrast between the old and new.

Looking up at the ETFE roof that hangs over Innova 21's exhibition space.

There will be more photos in the future as more parts of the building open for use.

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3 Responses to “Adelaide: University of Adelaide’s new 6 star green star rating building, Innova 21”

  1. JP Says:

    The exterior lights reflect several variables related to the weather. I forget what they were (temperature and air pressure) but there are a series of sensors around the building that affect the colour.

    • Andrew Says:

      The building seems to be equipped with quite a few sensors for different things. In the computer suites room on the ground floor there are blinds which roll up and down automatically throughout the day as the sun moves across the face of the building. There’s also a few automatic sensors for lights which don’t seem to work properly (there’s still a few glitches like that in the building that need to be sorted).

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