The Knox Innovation, Opportunity and Sustainability Centre (KIOSC), designed by Woods Bagot's Melbourne architecture studio, has been shortlisted in the Higher Education/Research category at the 2013 World Architecture Festival Awards.

The World Architecture Festival is the largest annual festival and awards competition dedicated to celebrating and sharing architectural excellence from around the world. This year’s event will take place in Marina Bay Sands in Singapore from October 2 to 4.

Located in Melbourne, KIOSC is a $10.3 million high-tech learning and training centre created in April 2012 to deliver green education, sustainability orientated training and responsible management skills.

The 1,800-square metre building presented a challenge for the architects, who had to design a sustainable building while ensuring it met the needs of the Technical and Further Education (TAFE) curriculum.

“The design of the building reflects its purpose of operation – sustainability, inclusion and innovation.  It includes sustainable materials, energy efficiency through correct building orientation and integration of siting and building fabric with engineering services,” the architects said. “KIOSC itself will act as a learning tool for the students and will enable them to develop an understanding of how buildings, people and the natural environment interact.”

Knox Innovation Opportunity and Sustainability Centre

The external green painted ribs are an expressive aesthetic feature in the facade.

The centre boasts several technology-rich collaborative areas, including a ‘simulation’ space that can accommodate up to 100 people as well as laboratories and ancillary spaces.

KIOSC has already been awarded top honours by the Council of Educational Facility Planners International (CEFPI) Victorian Chapter, winning the Best New Entire Educational Facility award.

“The design incorporates a careful integration of colour, materials, form, technology and simulation to invigorate the learning spaces and engage learners in discovery,” said the CEFPI jury.

“The building embraces and defines exterior settings with strong links between indoors and outdoors. The designers describe how themes of ‘reflection’ and ‘ refraction’ have influenced the design of the dramatic cranked vertical sun-blades which provide active protection to glazing.”

Knox Innovation Opportunity and Sustainability Centre

The amphitheatre is used as an external teaching area.

Integrated with its surroundings and the existing urban fabric, the new building was designed to ensure energy efficiency, while sustainable materials were used throughout its construction.

In the façade, a gradient of vertical louvers allows light to enter the space, providing a passive cooling system and protecting the building from solar heat gain.

The project aimed to prepare young people for coming global economic and environmental challenges and was conceived under a Commonwealth Government (Trade Training Centres) educational reform initiative. It is the result of a joint venture between Knox Schools Consortium, Swinburne University, Swinburne TAFE and Woods Bagot.

Knox Innovation Opportunity and Sustainability Centre

The interior features sustainable timber surfaces.