Curtin University Student Housing

Kalgoorlie, WA, Australia

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“In an environment that’s quite unforgiving, we’ve classed these buildings together, like a little community, linked with central spaces and walkways.” Brian Mariotti

AJ+C has created four separate, unapologetically robust, three and four-storey buildings, run diagonally east-west across site and oriented north-south for optimal solar orientation. Linked by covered walkways, each is grouped around open courtyards and BBQ facilities – outdoor social spaces for easy interaction.

Externally, all buildings are defined by a simple horizontal tri-banded colour palette referencing the area’s unique landscape, vegetation, minerals and mining history – red soil, grey stone, eucalyptus greens, and gold beneath. This strategy also reduces the buildings’ mass, with a dirt-red paint used at ground level (a device also addressing ground water splashback and dust), softening to warm orange and further lightening to gold as the building rises skyward.

Façade panels are overlapped and angled to create a play of light and shadow on all elevations and help ventilate wall cavities for better thermal performance. Full width sun-shading on northern elevations provides protection from the intense summer sun, with east and west elevations clad in light coloured sheets and heavily shaded narrow windows used to minimise solar heat gain.

Internally, accommodation is designed as a series of mostly six-bedroom cluster apartments. Each apartment peels off a common corridor leading to a shared open plan living, dining and kitchen space at the western and eastern ends of each block. This optimises cross ventilation and outlook in three directions.

Generous common areas for all residents to meet and mingle, study and socialise, are positioned on every second floor.

Construction methods were driven by high construction costs at the time of contract, with all accommodation built as prefabricated modules manufactured in China. Working closely with the manufacturer, all fittings and fixed furniture were integrated, factory installed and shipped with the modules – resulting in significant cost and build time efficiencies.

  • Date
    2017
  • Client
    Curtin University
  • cost
  • Site
    16,133 m²
  • GFA
    6,641 m²
  • FSR
    0.41:1

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