Post Occupancy Study of Richmond High School Multi-Purpose Hall

During the concept development process we undertook predictive studies for natural light, ventilation and building performance using software simulations to support and reinforce the principles of sustainable design. With the completion and occupancy of this school in early 2019, we initiated evaluating and testing the outcomes early 2020 however the field work is currently on hold due to COVID-19.

Led by PTW executive director Diane Jones and sustainability lead and associate Payal Chaudhari, the Post-Occupancy Evaluation (POE) aims to gather and examine key insights about the facilities’ technical performance, functionality and operational processes as well as the educational outcomes.

A single storey new multi-purpose hall and sporting facility accommodating over 700 students for a range of activities, with high internal gains the design aimed at maximising natural ventilation using ventilation stacks and optimizing natural light with minimal solar gains.

The shared community facility features an engineered timber beam wide span structure. Early performance analysis showed the optimal interior comfort from the structural timber trusses used to create linear lanterns that bring natural light into the hall and act as thermal chimneys for the expellation of hot air.

The performance analysis in the early field work stages showed that even on a 40 degree day, there was still significant air movement/breezes created from the natural ventilation and roof chimneys in operation.

We hope to resume our field work studies after the COVID 19 pandemic ‘on hold’ period, but we are pleased that lessons learnt to date can be shared, reflecting the success of the impact of the building on the students, staff and sustainable performance/engagement as a student learning model.