Key Projects
ECU building connects Print

May 14, 2015

More than just a building, Ngoolark is an award winning piece of architecture that connects buildings, students and the local Nyoongar community and changes the way in which those spaces are used.

Built at Edith Cowan University, Joondalup campus, B34 was named Ngoolark, the Nyoongar word for the endangered white tailed black cockatoo, also referred to as Carnaby's black cockatoo. The plumage of this local parrot has inspired the golden wrap-around façade of folded, perforated aluminium cladding and the ceramic frit on glazed panels, which together provide sun shading.

Other references to aboriginal culture include charcoal paving with swirling white lines representing Joondal - water flow through a billabong creating eddies and eroding rock as it rushes past stone surfaces – the namesake of the area. ECU’s second campus is also referred to through imagery of honey eaters or Jingee, the Nyoongar symbol for Mt Lawley.

Before construction began, the site had been the meeting point for a number of pedestrian paths. However, a major change in elevation often impeded traffic flow between the two levels and left the primary administrative buildings disconnected from the rest of campus.

Chris Sawdon from Triple-M Mechanical Services oversaw the mechanical services installation and was impressed by the design from JCY Architects and Urban Designers. “It is a good looking building that is very functional, and PACT Construction have done a great job with the build so it’s easy to see why it was named the best Commercial Construction ($10-$50 million) at the WA chapter of the Australian Institute of Building's Professional Excellence in Building Awards,” he said.

“They have incorporated the change in elevation to create a 6-storey building that effectively has two ground levels – a market level and a podium level – which link the admin buildings, library and lecture theatre with the rest of the campus. The five levels of useable space in the building are mostly used for offices but have been designed as flexible work areas to suit the changing needs of the university,” he said.

A large atrium off to the eastern end of the building presented the largest challenge for Triple-M as a lot of duct and pipe was buried beneath. “The service trench was capped and covered and would not be accessible later, so all of the mechanical services had to be pressure tested to make sure that there were no issues down the line.

“The atrium smoke exhaust system consisted of three large (2m diameter) adjustable pitch axial flow fans for smoke-spill application. These fans were located in the plant room on the sixth level and discharged directly through the roof,” he said. “Otherwise, the project was quite straight forward with various Fantech fans installed throughout the building, these included general exhaust and toilet exhaust; boiler room supply and exhaust fans; photocopier exhaust fans; and some miscellaneous supply and exhaust fans.”

The campus district cooling network fed chilled water into the building for the air conditioning via buried pre-insulated chilled water pipework mains. The incumbent BMS contractor integrated services with the existing BMS Front End on the campus which ensured that monitoring and control of the building could be achieved remotely from one central location.

The building was officially opened on 4 May 2015.

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