GippsTAFE Learning Centre, Leongatha

The brief was for a 1615sqm learning centre in an exposed greenfields site on the edge of Leongatha, located in Gippsland in Victoria’s south-east. The project is the first TAFE building in Australia to be awarded a 5 Star Green Star (Education Design) rating by the Green Building Council of Australia.

The design offers a mix of general purpose and specialist teaching and learning areas.

PMA’s design approach was to integrate, rather than separate the building’s conceptual and sustainable design aspects. Our intention was to create a ‘performance envelope’ that responds to the kinetics of the environment.

The building’s envelope was designed in collaboration with the wind engineers to enhance beneficial prevailing winds for ventilation into the interior spaces. The wind scoops on the south elevation were designed to induce positive pressures from prevailing winds, maximizing suction pressure into teaching and staff areas. The aerodynamic form of the building both implies sustainability and technically assists thermal performance and tackles the question: what does a 5 Star Green Star educational building look like? Internally, a kind of daylight canyon is produced, with sunlight reflectors and windows traversing the main corridor.

The scale of the wind scoops on the road elevation expands towards the east reinforcing the experience of accelerating out of town into the country. The building’s steel cladding relates to industrial sheds located on the edge of country town and explores the Australian veranda typology.

The building was reviewed in the Melbourne Age in July, 2011.