Curtin University’s new Legacy Living Lab (L3) is a modular structure conceptualised based on the principles of the circular economy – an ecofriendly idea that intends to ‘design out’ waste by employing as much recycling and material re-use as feasible.

Designed as a component of their thesis, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute PhD candidates Timothy O’Grady and Roberto Minunno, with Curtin Professor Greg Morrison, toiled beside a network of industry partners to devise L3 as a resource to support and educate the building industry on a variety of construction methods, test new products and review the material performance, including their energy consumption, automation, and effects on building wellness.

The L3, based at Development WA’s East Village development in Knutsford, Fremantle, was designed to be versatile, sustainable, and capable of disassembly. A good number of the building’s materials were recycled, such as the original 100 year-old Jarrah staircase from the Dingo Flour Mill and carpet tiles reclaimed from a Perth CBD office space.

In Australia, the building business is held accountable for about 30 percent or 20.4 million tonnes of yearly waste. This is both a problem and an opportunity, said O’Grady.

The circular economy idea, he said, rests at the core of the L3’s design and construction and lessens waste by incorporating valauable discoveries and donations, proving the saying, ‘one person’s trash is another’s treasure’.

The 17 tonne steel frames used to build L3 originated from a project that went bankrupt and were going to be recycled, said O’Grady. Administrators redesigned L3 to incorporate the frames, giving them purpose.

Other ecofriendly features of L3 comprise of the exterior balcony, culled from recycled tyre rubber and plastics; the acoustic ceiling panels, which consist of 68 percent recycled PET bottles and other plastics; and the kitchen benchtop, created from pressed recycled timber.

L3 also consists of solar panels, an on-site electric car charger, and includes water balancing features.

Professor Greg Morrison, also representing the Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, states that due to the fact that L3 is modular, it can be relocated, which assures its longevity.

Once it does reach its end of life, said Morrison, about 57 percent of L3 can be disassembled and reused in other buildings, 25 percent of it can be recycled, and 18 percent of it can be disposed.

L3 is a Curtin University building, utilised primarily as a place for industry demonstration and a place to execute valuable research on new building and material ideas.


Source: Architecture and Design.Com.Au