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WATPAC to construct RMIT Design Hub
Jul '09
Watpac Limited's Construction division has been awarded the construction of the RMIT University Design Hub, with a contract sum of $62 million. The high-profile project will be located at the strategic north-west corner of Swanston and Victoria Streets, on the site of the former Carlton United Brewery. Watpac Construction National General Manager, Martin Monro, said the award of this landmark project represented a key milestone in the company's strategy of growth in the Victorian market.

“Watpac has worked diligently to expand our Construction division in Victoria, and the award of this significant project—our largest to date in this market—is an endorsement of our team and their dedication to building on our reputation for excellence and quality,” Mr Monro said.

“RMIT University is renowned as one of the country's leading research and design institutions and Watpac is delighted to be involved in the construction of this landmark design project.

“The Design Hub is indicative of the high level of technical expertise and specialised skills Watpac possesses, which have been responsible for the successful completion of a range of projects for a varied clientele along the eastern seaboard.

“We are excited to deliver such an innovative project, building on our environmental credentials, and allowing the talents of our Watpac staff to be showcased in such a prominent location on Melbourne's civic access.”

The Design Hub will house RMIT's diverse range of design initiatives, design research groups and post-graduate programs, with multi-disciplinary teams working across a range of disciplines including textile and fashion design, architecture, industrial design, landscape architecture, urban design, engineering, fine art and creative media.

The 12,000m2 building will comprise two basement levels and eight levels above street level, and will contain research, lecture, and exhibition spaces.

The landmark project is registered for a Green Star rating under the Green Building Council of Australia's Education V1 rating tool, and includes a range of environmentally sustainable design features.

Designed by leading Melbourne architect Sean Godsell with Peddle Thorp, the building will feature a climatically responsive 'smart skin' comprised of 16,000 sand-blasted glass cells, which will track the sun via the building computer automation system to help shade and power the building.

Additional environmentally sustainable features include an under floor air distribution system, rain and waste water harvesting, an internal waste management system, extensive energy metering and display of live energy data, as well as careful selection of all building materials to minimise the building's environmental impact.

Work is expected to start on site immediately with completion scheduled for mid-2011. This project builds on the significant number of Green Star-rated projects undertaken by Watpac, as well as a large number of projects completed for the research and education sectors.

In Queensland, Watpac is currently building the $361 million Knowledge Based Research and Business Project, involving offices, laboratories, and specialist research facilities, including facilities for 200 scientists.

In New South Wales, Watpac was recently awarded the $80 million Cochlear Global Headquarters construction contract at Macquarie University, and the $50 million Woolworths Data Centre project.

RMIT University

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