The University of Melbourne is committed to delivering a sustainable campus. This is demonstrated through a wide range of activities and initiatives across campus, including the sustainability of the Arts West building.

The goal of the Arts West building is to enhance teaching and learning in a way that is financially responsible and embodies the University's commitment to environmental stewardship. During the construction of Arts West, the project targeted a 5 star Green Star Education v1 Design rating, which equates to Australian Excellence.

3D building model with light analysis
3D building model by ARM+Architectus and Arup's analysis of daylight and direct sunlight in the atrium.

The building enhances teaching and learning by providing excellent indoor environment quality in all teaching and staff spaces, including:

  • 100% outside air, with no recirculation
  • An indoor air quality management plan
  • High quality external views, with blinds to help control glare
  • Design for good speech intelligibility and to minimise distracting noise from building services
  • A high level of thermal comfort

The building is cost-effective to run owing to the following design features:

  • The iconic shading system blocks solar radiation before it enters the building, and combined with double glazing, reduces the need for cooling
  • The air-conditioning predominantly uses chilled beams and is focused on the teaching and staff spaces, where is it most needed, with the corridors controlled at a wider temperature band and the Atrium being naturally ventilated only
  • Energy efficient LED lighting is used throughout the building, at a power density that is significantly better than Building Code of Australia (BCA) requirements
  • Good maintenance access has been provided to centrally located plant, windows and the atrium roof
  • Rain water and fire system test water is captured and reused for toilet flushing and irrigation
  • An energy and water sub-metering system, with a user friendly interface, helps University staff monitor and manage the building, and help end-users to understand the building's performance

The building demonstrates the University's commitment to the environment through:

  • Targeted 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared to a BCA code compliant building
  • Water efficient fixtures and fittings, combined with water re-use, reducing the water consumption of the building

Arts West exterior

The Arts West Façade

A landmark feature of Arts West is the façade including images of objects in the University's Museums and Collections. The chosen images reflect the intellectual, cultural and interdisciplinary traditions and diverse knowledge systems that underpin teaching and learning in humanities and the social sciences.

The galvanised steel fins shading the weatherproof glass walls of the building are engraved with the images, which reveal themselves depending on viewer perspective and the light conditions. This concept of revelation echoes the process of learning and discovery in the humanities and social sciences.