Sustainable residential complex opens at Peninsula as growth plans take shape

Monash University has opened a new 150-bed accommodation complex on its Peninsula Campus which is three times more energy efficient than existing residential halls.

Monash University has opened a new 150-bed residential accommodation complex on its Peninsula Campus, constructing its most energy efficient building in the process.

Expected to be over three times more efficient than existing residential halls, the project is set to become the first large scale building in the country to achieve Passive House certification. Combined with a cross-laminated timber (CLT) structure, the building sets a new benchmark for sustainable design and construction.

Through its ambitious design and drawing from elements of the University’s Net Zero initiative, including rooftop solar panels and all-electric building services, the complex is 100% renewable powered through Monash’s power purchase agreement (PPA) with Murra Warra wind farm.

Professor David Copolov AO, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Major Campuses and Student Engagement), said: "Monash is redefining a university’s role in creating a sustainable future and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - a blueprint to attaining a better and more sustainable future for us all.

“We’re particularly proud of the interplay of pioneering design agendas that are resulting in Gillies Hall, yielding many environmental benefits and setting a new benchmark in sustainable development.”

Designed by Jackson Clements Burrows, and working closely with engineers AECOM and contractor Multiplex, the use of CLT is expected to have halved the carbon emissions associated with construction relative to a concrete structure and will remain as a carbon store for the life of the building.

The building also incorporates a rainwater harvesting tank and water sensitive urban design, including the creation of a landscaped dry-creek bed that provides additional opportunities for recreation, manages stormwater flows during high rain events and connects into the natural waterways of the Campus.

The building, named after Monash alumnus and prominent Australian political satirist, actor and director Dr Max Gillies AM, provides residents with a range of modern, high quality and sustainable living spaces during a planned period of growth for the University on Peninsula Campus.

Dr Gillies was one of the first students to enrol at Frankston Teachers’ College in 1960, before graduating from the University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1966. Best known for his ability to parody a wide range of political figures, he hosted the Gillies Report in 1984-85, followed by Gillies Republic in 1986 and Gillies and Company in 1992. He was recognised with a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University in 1997 and awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2015.

President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, underlined the appropriateness of naming the new residences after one of Monash’s favourite alumni.

“Max Gillies’ contributions to the performing arts and the cultural life of Australia are significant, and have influenced how we see ourselves as a nation, particularly in the political sphere. Max is highly regarded as a mentor and personality by student actors and performers at the University.

“Naming the Peninsula campus’ new student residences after Dr Gillies is a great way to acknowledge his connections to the region, his close association with Monash University, and to recognise the first students at the Peninsula Campus,” Professor Gardner said.

The expansion of Peninsula’s facilities continues to develop the University’s world-class allied health, business and education precinct, further strengthening the local health and education workforce in the Frankston and Mornington Peninsula region.

Professor Copolov said the new accommodation will have long-lasting benefits for the University and the broader community.

“As well as providing an outstanding quality of accommodation to its residents, Gillies Hall will be a crucial element of Monash’s expanding role in the region. Its construction is emblematic of the emphasis we are placing on the campus contributing in a major way to the University’s development plans," he said.

“In particular, Gillies Hall is one of the key components that underpins our goal to establish Peninsula campus as Australia’s leading centre of allied health and primary care education and research, and more broadly of Monash enhancing its status as a university of choice of domestic and international students.

“Our expansion allows for a more significant contribution to and engagement with the local community and employers in delivering substantial economic, social and cultural benefits to the region.”