Monash University is ready to step up to new heights with the addition of The New Horizons building, destined to become a significant technological innovation hub in the southern hemisphere. It was officially opened on the 30th of July.

The most significant feature of the $140 million New Horizons building is its integrated and multi-use design that allows co-located academics and its neighbouring partners, the CSIRO, to work together in a true collaborative partnership.

“Indeed, it is the collaborative nature of the project that has thrown us some rather interesting challenges,” says Patrick Elliott, a Director of engineering and sustainability consultants Umow Lai who was a key member of the Monash New Horizons project team.

“On the one hand we have to meet the very specific needs of a first-class research facility that by nature, are high energy users, and then balance these out against the low energy requirements for a building that has strived and achieved a 6 Star Green Star Design rating,” Patrick explains.

“To achieve these outcomes we have employed some leading edge technologies to ensure that energy efficiency is maximized and that the university’s specific needs are all met.”

Innovative energy efficient elements include:

  • Energy efficient under floor air distribution air conditioning system
  • In slab active mass cooling
  • Dedicated cooling system that recycles and reuses water
  • A gas fired Cogen facility that has the ability to provide Heating Hot Water for the building systems as required & off set peak power demands.
  • The cogen also has the ability to Sync within the high voltage-embedded grid and connection to the High Temperature Hot Water within the university campus to serve other buildings on campus.
  • Multiple fume cupboards with dedicated exhaust systems provide flexibility and capacity for the wide variety of end users.

Monash New Horizons, now completed at the University’s Clayton campus, has been designed by Lyons architects to be a building of exemplary architectural distinction.

Efficiently planned spaces separate laboratory facilities from offices by voids while on the fourth and top level of the building, is a large, attractive, airline-style lounge for staff. The design also introduces improved pedestrian pathways, better open spaces and physical linkages between the CSIRO’s Clayton site, currently opposite the New Horizons building and the university itself.

Umow Lai, a national building services and sustainability consultancy, provided the following services:

  • Mechanical
  • Electrical
  • Communications
  • Security
  • Audio visual
  • Vertical Transportation
  • Dry Fire

Dean Vokes, a Umow Lai Associate, Construction Manager and key project team member mentions another feature.

“Potentially know as the jewel in the crown, it is the 10 metre-high room known as the ‘CAVE’ that can be used by the university academics to display high resolution 3D extremely detailed images onto a 360 degree curved wall, as well as being used for real-time conferencing.”

The New Horizons is an integral part of Monash University’s vision to develop a Clayton Innovation Precinct as a most significant technological innovation hub in the southern hemisphere. Through the building, the university hopes to be able to develop smarter and cleaner manufacturing, to streamline commercialization, create international e-learning linkages and provide a first-class facility for highly skilled graduates in a multi-disciplinary workplace.

Construction is now complete with an intensive 12 month building tuning programme to be undertaken.

The New Horizons building at Monash University was funded by the Australian Government through the Education Investment Fund.

Umow Lai has also worked on the following Monash University projects: STRIP-2 building 76 & 77 (Science, Technology, Research & Innovation Precinct) Stage 2, Clayton Campus; John Monash Science School; Nano-fabrication and parts of building 75.