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Best Environmentally Sustainable Design – Non-Residential

Woodleigh Ag Hort

Best Environmentally Sustainable Design – Non-Residential
EME Group
(03) 9699 4688
Scott Haskin

Woodleigh School, one of the earliest schools in Victoria and the first on the Mornington Peninsula, commenced operations in 1856 as a coeducational school. It has a strong commitment to the environment, actively promoting environmental awareness in the student body and throughout the wider community via a number of programs and initiatives.

"Respect for Environment" is one of the Schools core values. Students participate in regular "clean up" days, particularly along the Mornington Peninsula's wonderful coastline, as well as tree planting events.

Within the school grounds students, parents and community groups provide significant assistance to maintain an Australian native landscape and every effort is made by the School to integrate campus buildings in a harmonious fashion. The Senior Campus, in particular, situated on approximately 20 hectares and protected from future development in the area by a wide border of preserved land, has earned a "Land for Wildlife" classification from the Department of Sustainability and Environment.

Senior Campus has a centre for Environmental Education. Studies include work on alternative energy sources and permaculture.

Taking the opportunity to educate as a starting point, this student driven project encompassed the myriad of possibilities available to sustainable design and presented them as a cohesive statement. Straw bale walls with rustic reclaimed ironbark poles nestling into the southern aspect juxtapose against the linear rhythms of the timber on the northern façade. The result is an open textbook of ESD.

The Judges highly acclaimed this entry. “The straw bale construction method enabled student participation in a project where all facets of sustainable design have been considered. Both recycled materials and those with low embodied energy and a potential for recycling were employed. The designer has achieved a pleasing take on the rural shed, while providing a surprisingly elegant interior, taking advantage of the sculptural qualities of the straw bale walls. Wastage of lining materials is minimised through designing to available sheet sizes. The building responds well to the surrounding landscape and incorporates photo-voltaic and solar hot water systems, and achieves a 6-star energy rating,” said the Judges.