Student residential hall under construction. Photo by Jamie Kidston.

Student residential hall under construction. Photo by Jamie Kidston.

Building a more sustainable campus

Sustainable building practices and materials were used throughout the Kambri precinct. Jess Fagan reports.

Visitors to the ‘super-floor’ of Kambri’s new Teaching Centre are greeted with more than one spectacular sight.

The first is the incredible views of Canberra. The second is the room itself – a huge open space with seating capacity for more than 300 people.

It’s full of striking exposed timber. So why the unconventional choice of building material? It turns out the spruce pine was chosen for more than just its good looks. Timber is one of the only truly sustainable building resource and, if looked after properly, will actually last much longer than your average concrete structure.

Kambri project manager and ANU engineering graduate Ben Owen has seen a lot of buildings in his time, but the Teaching Centre now ranks among his favourites.

“Timber construction in Australia is relatively new,” he says. “ANU trusted us to go with three timber buildings when, at that point in time, only a handful of commercial timber projects had been delivered in Australia – that was pretty brave. Now there’s a whole emerging industry, with another 100 developments in various stages.”