At a time when education is key to a successful career path for our children, the designs of our schools need to reflect a collaboration and connectivity between architect and client. The new Mercy Building for Australian Catholic University (ACU) designed by ThomsonAdsett is a perfect example of an informed design approach with a human-centred consultation process, inclusive of stakeholder workshops and various user groups. These workshops uncovered belonging, connection to community and self-expression as key factors to consider when designing the Mercy Building.
In order to create a series of innovative learning environments for students and staff that embrace ACU’s culture and ethos, ThomsonAdsett drew inspiration from advancements in teaching and learning, workplace needs and the unique qualities of the immediate and wider site.
As with all good design, the building engages with its surrounding context by sensitively connecting to existing buildings, and also to the heritage characteristics and to panoramas of the broader site.
To achieve a comprehensive and successful design, ThomsonAdsett collaborated with library expert Janine Schmidt to ensure that the project not only delivered on the client’s functional and performance requirements, but that these were tested against international best practice.
Mindful of the environment, the project sought to achieve equal or better outcomes relative to the university’s established benchmarks. This included improving energy and water efficiency by seven per cent by 2020. First-quarter data shows that these targets are being achieved. The exterior design of the building — coupled with smart, sustainable integrated services —enable this efficiency, even with a large proportion of the building facing west.
The project presented a unique opportunity to create a community landmark showcasing the attributes of the Brisbane campus to the ACU community and an excellent place in which to learn and grow.
Photography by Alicia Taylor
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