Monash Business School
Project NameMonash Business School Caulfield, by NH Architecture and XLam
Photographer DetailsXLam Australia
The Monash CLT vertical extension was the first CLT project to be undertaken at an Australian university. As the business school operates strictly for students at postgraduate or executive study levels, NH architecture wanted to reflect the innovative learning style with an innovative building and material.
With panoramic views across the Melbourne, the three-storey pavilion showcases over 300 degree views of the skyline.
The Monash Business School extension brief was for a new pavilion and connecting stairwell to the existing campus. The project called for an innovative material in a symbolic and practical sense. As the vertical extension was to be located on the existing 8th floor concrete terrace, the structure would need to be lightweight in order to be supported by existing foundations. The strength-weight ratio of mass timber over concrete and steel made the three-storey addition possible. The opportunity to use CLT was immediately harnessed by NH Architecture.
The Monash University clients, along with NH Architecture, were keen to expose the timber where possible. The natural beauty of the XLam CLT was expressed openly in the hallway and stairwell area, displaying both structure and finish in a singular materiality. Appearance grade CLT was specified so that raw timber exposure was possible.
In this case, the outer layer of the CLT uses a higher grade timber for an aesthetically pleasing finish. The CLT used in this project is made up of radiata pine boards with alternating grain direction, fixed together with adhesive. During manufacturing XLam removed boards with knots and defects from the feedstock for the outer layer, producing a smooth appearance. In certain areas, a range of different grain appearances were fitted together to create a ‘mosaic’ of timber. Timber has been known to reduce stress in the workplace, and with some Australians now spending up to 90% of their time indoors, introducing natural materials can boost mental health.
Monash have incorporated a net zero carbon policy into their building framework going forwards. Using a renewable technology like CLT was an essential part of this framework. Monash aims to improve their energy usage and efficiency across the campus as it develops new projects. Heat pumps, high performing facades, and efficient lighting and appliances are part of a mission statement by Monash for sustainable living by 2030. A micro grid system is to be installed at the Clayton campus in order to monitor and control how much power output the University is using. Monash is leading the way to a sustainable global energy future in partnership with research organisations, industry and government.
The design for the addition required a very specific response, as the existing level 8 concrete slab structure was unable to support any more load from a vertical extension. A steel grillage was used to allow the lightweight CLT structure to be hoisted directly onto the columns below, with large steel beams transferring the weight horizontally from column to column.
The high load floor in the new structure uses a 175mm thick 5 player XLam panel. This level needs extra weight bearing ability to hold the additional floors. The floor levels above specify 145mm thick 5 layer panels. Roof panels are 130mm 5 layer panels. Untreated radiata pine from FSC sourced plantations was used for all CLT panels. Having a net zero carbon policy at the university campus, renewable CLT timber was the desired choice both for Monash and NH. CLT is made from sustainably harvested timber from plantations that ensure it remains renewable. Carbon dioxide from the environment can then be locked within the mass structure for the entirety of its lifetime.
Mass timber glulam beams span over 11m to support the raked roof profile. The glulam beams have exceptional strength and spanning abilities due to their multiple timber plys. Timber risers for the stair were also made from heavy duty glulam. The risers each weigh 7 tonnes, and were craned into the structure at level 8 before being eased into place by temp lifting beams.
Gold zinc cladding has been used for the exterior skin of the pavilion. A mixture of custom gold zinc shingles and more common standing seam and flat lock panels have been specified. Large double height glazing and isosceles shaped windows create a playful mixture of apertures, while maximising interior daylight.