Council House 2

Location: Little Collins street, Melbourne
Client: Council House
Design: Pierce and Partners
Year: 2008

Water Mining

During centuries generations of Dutch dealt with the abundance of water from the sky, the rivers upstream and the sea. Dikes, dams and channels were built to guide the water and protect their houses. In contrast, in an arid country as Australia, it's scarcity which asks for innovative answers.
The new Council House in Melbourne is a complex system of interrelated energy, ventilation and water systems. As in a real ecosystem Pierce and Partners designed a building wherein each part only works in reference to the whole.One of the main challenges was to get enough water to keep this ecosystem going. Since water is scarce in Melbourne simply using clean drinking water from local water systems wouldn't match with the ambition for minimum footprint. The solution was found underneath the building. Each day 100.000 liter of black water is extracted from the sewer under Little Collins street. In a multi water reuse plant, 100% of the non-drinking water needed for the building is generated. In this plant different sorts of water are used. Rainwater is collected and buffered. Grey water from showers and black water from toilets are also treated and reused.The building itself is a complex system of interrelated components. In this building the many parts work together to heat, cool, power and water the building. During winter, summer, day and night the building reacts differently to fit the demands of the people within. Mick Pierce is known for another well-known ecological building. In Harare, Zimbabwe he designed a multifunctional building inspired on ventilation and cooling systems found in local termites nests, one of the few buildings based on the idea of biomimicry.


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