In delivering the University of Wollongong’s newest student accommodation called Bangalay, GroupGSA has designed a building more akin to an upscale apartment complex, with high-quality finishes adding durability.
The Bangalay postgraduate residences wouldn’t look out of place in a trendy innercity neighbourhood and that’s the idea. It sets another benchmark for student accommodation and makes for an attractive offering, where the overall design’s functionality is as compelling as its architectural expression. The brief called for a hardworking facility that not only serves as a gateway to the campus, but also gives the university a point of difference within competitive market. By responding to Bangalay’s natural setting at the base of an escarpment and its close proximity to the coast, the architects’ have achieved just that.
As GroupGSA director Lisa-Maree Carrigan notes, “The building’s strong connection to the outdoors is key in providing a relaxed environment for the postgraduate students and their families, creating good quality of life.” very studio and unit in the 7720-square-metre development has a balcony with views to the beach or mountains; a well-considered feature not often found in multi-level student accommodation. An abundance of natural light and ventilation also characterizes each residence. And the generously sized ground-floor communal areas spill out into a north-facing courtyard, promoting a greater sense of openness and community.
Bangalay’s scheme is striking for its homely yet refined ambience, with a hotel-like reception area and efficiently planned apartments that boast a thoroughly modern aesthetic. “Material choices were critical because the project has to withstand lots of wear and tear,” says Carrigan. “The quality of the finishes were also important and that’s why we chose to use Taubmans paints throughout the interior.”
Dark blues add a dramatic accent to the communal areas’ walls, in contrast to the soft greys and creams of the apartment and corridor walls. These finishes are all Bristol Easy Living Interior Low Sheen, which is water-based and therefore low in VOC and has less odour. Elsewhere, Taubmans Pure Performance Semi-Gloss Trim features on the doors and the Ceiling Flat was used for the ceilings.
The Pure Performance is especially well suited to the project as it’s engineered with Microban® antibacterial protection, which inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, mould, mildew and fungus. For a humid climate like Wollongong, the benefit in using this particular waterbased paint is not to be underestimated. If the interior finishes needed to be hardwearing, then the exterior ones doubly so. “Bangalay is a PPP and has a 36-year handover period and so its whole-of-life cost and life cycle was a significant consideration,” explains Carrigan. In specifying the Armawall texture coating system for the external surfaces, the architects ensured the building’s durability and long-term protection from the elements. Interestingly, the three-coat system’s top coat features excellent dirt shedding properties, which will maintain the building’s outward appearance over time.
GroupGSA’s fine attention to detail, from providing a sensitive connection to place to selecting paint finishes that don’t inhibit indoor air quality, is what enables a happy, healthy living environment. It’s a cohesive design solution and an outcome that succeeds for a high level of efficiency and uncompromised comfort.
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