Murdoch University’s landmark academic building Boola Katitjin has taken the top honour, the George Temple Poole Award, at the 2023 WA Architecture Awards.
Designed by Lyons with Silver Thomas Hanley, The Fulcrum Agency and Officer Woods Architects, the Six Star Green Star rated timber structure demonstrated “a leadership level of sustainability while enhancing the existing character and adding to the evolving future character of the Murdoch campus,” according to jury Chair Chris Maher.
“Lyons and their creative team have skilfully ensured that Boola Katitjin is more than a repository of knowledge, it’s a building that facilitates collaboration, a stimulating place of learning, teaching, and discovery, for students, teachers, staff, and visitors,” he said.
Murdoch University Vice Chancellor Professor Andrew Deeks said the award was testament to the commitment of Boola Katitjin’s designers to delivering a learning environment that was innovative both inside and out, but also retained the welcoming atmosphere and connection to culture that Murdoch is known for.
“Sustainability has always been important to Murdoch and is a fundamental part of our University strategy as we move forward, so it was imperative that Boola Katitjin would set a new standard in educational architecture,” he said.
“We always knew we had an incredible building, and it has been wonderful to see staff and students enjoy it this year, but to be recognised by industry as having the best overall architecture in Western Australia is fantastic.”
Boola Katitjin also received the Award for Educational Architecture and the Wallace Greenham Award for Sustainable Architecture.
Judges said Boola Katitjin’s sustainability credentials were significant, praising the highly innovative use of structural timber to reduce the embodied carbon within the building by 55 per cent, and this the integration of mixed mode ventilation strategies throughout.
The building’s gable roof has 450kW of PV solar cells, which when combined with the many other low energy systems greatly reduce the overall operational energy consumed, and the servicing strategy ensures that the building can be fully electrified and operate with 100 per cent renewables.