My project deals with the key issue that the residential on-campus living typology in Clayton Monash University, specifically Howitt Hall has become unappealing to users. 95% of students say they would rather live in a shared house or an apartment close to the city. My project ‘More Than Just a Room’ creates a destination for students to reside on campus for longer, whilst providing an opportunity to live sustainably and create lifestyle changes that students will take with them after university life. The project aims to enhance the existing reasons for living on campus (community connection), improve transportation and reimagine the house within this typology.

The Garage

In response to research on transport, an electric car-sharing system and bike repair shed has been retrofitted into the ground floor and an adjacent car park, to improve access to transport, reduce car culture and create sharing economies between residents. Solar panels on the roof of Howitt hall supply energy to the electric cars that residents may share and use. As the needs of society change over time, the car park will evolve and transform the area into an integrated backyard expansion as well as the opportunity for increased bike storage.

Retrofit, Alterations, and Additions

My proposition addresses how each micro-level (room) contributes to the overall system of sustainable and resilient living. The garage, the backyard, the study, the living room, and the bedroom, each have associated sustainable systems and architectural interventions that retrofit, add to, or alter the existing building of Howitt Hall to achieve net-zero. This micro-room strategy suggests that these rooms can become catalogue of approaches that could also be applied across other typologies within the campus.

The Study

The study intervention retrofits level one of Howitt hall, retaining the structure and removing the internal bedroom walls whose material could be upcycled for bricks in the garden. The study features an extension deck, as well as an upcycle station for office supplies and a community book exchange to encourage sharing economies. The deck extension provides an opportunity for students to study outside with connecting views over the activities within the backyard below.

The Backyard

The backyard system includes an Anaerobic biodigester where Organic waste produced by the residential village including Howitt Hall is installed to create bio-gas electricity to power garden sheds as well as provide fertilizer for the gardens. Rainwater harvesting also utilises the roof structure of the seed library to collect runoff into the water tank, this is then used for gardens. The sheds emphasize the vernacular of the typical garden shed. They are designed for manufacturing assembly and disassembly through a kit of parts that can be arranged into various layouts.

Educational Connection

The study and the backyard are connected through an outdoor amphitheater providing an opportunity to connect education with the sustainable systems of the backyard. This space could provide opportunities for meetings, talks, and discussions on the operations of their sustainable systems and a key opportunity for students to learn more about sustainable living and practices.

The Bedroom

The final intervention is the bedroom system which focuses on individual shading devices whose panels are operable by those in their room. The system aims to reduce the building’s heat gain through shading and an air gap, therefore reducing the building's energy requirements to cool the building. The bedroom also includes a fit-out module. The fit-out module aims to maximize amenity in minimal space, create flexibility and improve the usability of these rooms. The module approach was adopted to limit waste by retaining the existing walls.
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