Efficiency, ecology at the heart of new Moreton Bay Campus buildings | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Efficiency, ecology at the heart of new Moreton Bay Campus buildings

Specialty European timber that regenerates “in five-to-six minutes” is among the sustainable materials being used in the second stage of the University of the Sunshine Coast’s Moreton Bay campus.

Three new buildings at the Petrie location will utilise a mixture of domestically-sourced XLam Australian timbers and purpose-sought glue-laminated Hess timbers from Europe.

UniSC Senior Project Manager Kate Robertson said while the initial objective was to use 100 per cent Australian-grown timber, incorporating European wood had practical and environmental advantages.

“The three buildings we are constructing are going to be beautiful additions,” Ms Robertson said.

“Such are the qualities of the Xlam and Hess timber, there is no need for painting, no need for internal refitting.

“I guarantee everybody that walks through will touch the building, feel its warmth, its natural qualities, and it does give off a rather enchanting scent as well.

“The way the materials have arrived, we will be able to erect the timber structure of a three-storey building in 45 days, which is extremely efficient, saves on cost escalation, and is more sustainable when you account for the resources needed in the construction phase.

“The amount of timber UniSC will be using regrows in the European forestry industry within five-to-six minutes, whereas regrowth in Australian forests is markedly slower due to the size of our plantations.”

UniSC engaged award-winning architectural practice KIRK to provide the concept, design and documentation for the Moreton Bay Campus second stage, with BADGE Constructions and Cottee Parker Architects delivering the project under a Design and Construct Contract.

Ms Robertson said the new buildings would not only represent an evolution in the Campus’s history – adding the first working PC2 laboratories and sports facilities to the site – they would provide tactile motivation for those with dreams of a future in disciplines like engineering and project management.

“The buildings will be landmarks that push the boundaries, expanding the possibilities in the minds of our students,” Ms Robertson said.

“Students are already taking an interest, touring around to see what is taking shape.

“They look at something like this being built and think: ‘This is why I’m sitting in a classroom, dedicating my time to learning my craft. It results in projects like this’.

“Having fully-functioning research laboratories, further staff amenities, and a sports precinct catapults the Moreton Bay site into its next chapter as a fully-fledged campus.”

In addition to the aesthetic and functional advantages of the three new buildings, the constructions will incorporate research elements that allow academics, and their students, to observe data such as the moisture content in the materials over time.

Construction of the new comprehensive teaching and research building, Building D, is expected to be complete by mid-2023.

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