A imagined version of the timber construction. Image – Supplied
  • A 'New Academic Building' will soon arrive at Perth's Murdoch University
  • The building has a sustainable focus
  • Construction company Multiplex are responsible for the works

Construction has now commenced at Perth’s Murdoch University on the academic building that will become WA’s largest mass timber structure.

Construction company, Multiplex, has been awarded the design and construct contract. They believe the project will generate 1,400 construction jobs.

The New Academic Building (NAB) is hoped to be a transformative project for Murdoch University’s South Street Campus and for the higher education sector as a whole.

The development is anticipated to improve education through more innovative teaching and learning spaces, facilitating collaboration supported by technologies.

The NAB will be the largest mass timber construction across Western Australia and across all Australian university campuses. The unique structure with be made from a fully renewable resource. The design intentionally utilises simple long spans of the timber to allow for flexibility and change as the university adapts to future needs.

The building will be four storeys high and over 130 metres long.

The design aims to take leadership and set a benchmark for sustainability on a national scale. Its large roof will host an array of photovoltaic cells (similar to solar panels).

An imagined version of the timber construction. Image – supplied

Chris Palandri, the Multiplex regional Director says the building’s sustainable focus is underpinned by its innovative, timber construction which is embedded with renewable energy generation and minimises energy use. He believes the building will achieve the six Star Green Star Ecologically Sustainable Development accreditation from the Green Building Council of Australia.

“The New Academic Building will showcase Murdoch University’s sustainability ethos while upholding campus amenity, planning, built form and landscape heritage.”

Chris Palandri, Multiplex regional Director

The timber construction will be comprised of glulam and cross-laminated timber. The resources will be sourced from sustainable suppliers in Europe and Australia.

The structure was crafted by architects from national architectural practice – Lyons – in partnership with Perth-based design practices including The Fulcrum Agency, Officer Woods and Silver Thomas Hanley.

“This project provides an opportunity to foster WA industry expertise in mass engineered timber projects”

Chris Palandri, Multiplex Regional Director

Mr Palandri believes the project will showcase local expertise to the broader property and construction industry but also show current industry students, the type of innovation that can be applied to all future projects.

This is not Multiplex’s first large scale mass engineered timber project. Murdoch’s academic building be an addition to previous successful projects such as the La Trobe Student Accommodation Project and the Monash Peninsula Student Accommodation projects in Melbourne.

Murdoch University Chief Operating Officer, Darren McKee sees the development as an exciting step forward in campus sustainability and believes it will bring the community together. He says the project focuses on student experience and wellbeing.

“As a University that prides itself on our bush campus…we are focused on the delicate balance of the local environment as we proceed with the construction of the New Academic Building.”

Darren McKee, Murdoch University Chief Operating Officer

“We have been working with our own Murdoch experts together with those from our partners to implement comprehensive environmental plans,” Mr McKee said.

The construction began this month and is expected to be complete by early 2023.

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