Home' Commercial : Commercial Designs 2010 Contents 202 WA's Best Commercial Designs 2010
planning an institutional building is doomed to
failure. According to Ken, something in the order
of five percent of the initial spend affects up
to 65 percent of the major decisions and costs
With the consultative process complete and the
planning in place, the key issues that need to be
addressed when designing institutions -- be it a
hospital, university, school or library -- fall into
the following five categories:
LOW RECURRENT COSTS
Institutional buildings cost the community
a lot more over their lifetime than the initial
construction, so the implementation of clever
design principles is all-important.
" e costs associated with running and
maintaining a facility over time will soon
overtake the initial costs," agrees Ken.
"Until very recently, this was not a major
consideration for most clients and developers,
but these days, life cycle costs -- along with
operating costs over 20-plus years -- form part
of the feasibility for most major projects."
Almost unheard of 20 years ago, sustainable
design has a huge role to play in the creation of
successful institutional buildings. Sustainable
principles help create a pleasant environment for
the users of a facility and -- importantly -- keep
long-term running costs down.
"A lot of institutional design is about spending
money today to save money in the future," adds
Edwin Bollig, director of Bollig Design Group.
"Reducing the recurrent costs is as important
-- if not more important -- as keeping the capital
costs down. Sustainable design is a very big part
e key issue with sustainable design, according
to JCY director Andrew Rogerson, is effective
orientation. If a building isn't orientated correctly
to take advantage of natural light, it won't operate
Also key to a building's sustainability are
insulation, sensor lights, sun shades, natural
ventilation and materials that retain thermal mass.
Almost equal in importance to sustainability is
flexibility -- the ability of a building to change and
adapt over time.
"Low-maintenance design is very important,"
says Edwin. "You want to be able to change things
without impacting structurally on the building."
According to James, this is what differentiates
today's buildings from the less well-designed
institutions of the past.
"It's interesting to see which buildings have
performed well over the years. For example, many
buildings constructed in the 60s and 70s have
been very difficult to adapt to changing needs.
Low floor-to-ceiling heights, inadequate vertical
circulation, inflexible plans and inefficient facades
have consigned many to demolition.
"Some, however, have been successfully
reinvented and it is important that the design
team and client take a visionary approach to
ensure that the design remains adaptable and
flexible over a long life span. Building in expansion
space is a high priority and we generally aim to
preserve 20 percent for growth. is provision
can substantially extend the life of a facility."
Twenty-first Century institutions have one thing
in common -- they stand out from the crowd.
Get it right and the building becomes an icon;
get it wrong and it sticks out like a sore thumb.
" e buildings in institutions really should
be reflective of their time," explains Tom Brooking
of Brooking Design Practice.
" ere has to be a link in terms of scale but
not necessarily with a consistent building
material. e building should really convey
and communicate what it is inherently, whether
it's a performing arts centre or a library, and be
Examples of cutting-edge institutional design include Atwell College (far left) by JCY, the College of the North Atlantic in Qatar (top centre and bottom centre) by
Woods Bagot, the Pathwest Laboratory at QEII Medical Centre in Nedlands (far top right) by JCY and the UWA Business School (far bottom right) by Woods Bagot.
Atwell College image courtesy of JCY, photography Damien Hatton; College of the North Atlantic images courtesy of Woods Bagot,
photography Mason-Lovering Photography; PathWest Laboratory image courtesy of JCY; UWA Business School image courtesy of
Woods Bagot, photography Adrian Lambert, Acorn Photo Agency
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