TAFE Robina opens as Australia’s first sustainable vocational education and training campus

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SHAPE’s most recent multi-million-dollar education project has opened as Australia’s first sustainable vocational education and training (VET) campus.

The award-winning TAFE Queensland Robina campus on the Gold Coast was officially opened by the Queensland Minister for Training and Skills Development, Di Farmer, on 14 July 2022.

With expertise in delivering sustainable projects, SHAPE was engaged by TAFE Queensland to undertake the 5-story fitout of its newest campus. In an Australia-first, the campus was designed from the ground up to be sustainable in building, fitout, procurement, curriculum, operations and culture.

Over 32 weeks, SHAPE worked with project managers EY Brisbane and designers AEQ Architects to bring modern design and construction practices to the project, ensuring they met TAFE Queensland’s bold sustainability ambitions.

Working closely with TAFE Queensland faculty from each department, including commercial cookery, hospitality, early childhood education and care, information technology, hair and beauty, and sport and fitness, SHAPE constructed functional and sustainable learning spaces. These spaces will educate and train more than 2,000 students each year in the booming Gold Coast area.

Located within the Acuity Business Park on Laver Drive, the Robina campus features a commercial kitchen for culinary training, a café, large conference area with a banquet centre and bar, beauty areas for hairdressing, a gym, lecture rooms and classrooms.

One of the key aspects of the design was the stretch ceiling over void featuring colourful LED lights by NEWMAT Australia. The scope of works also included an extensive joinery package and a diverse range of ecological finishes, plus service integration within base build and management of base build trades for completion with the fitout.

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In an Australia-first, the campus was designed from the ground up to be sustainable in building, fitout, procurement, curriculum, operations and culture.

Sustainable design

Sustainability was considered in all aspects of the design and fitout, from 250 solar panels to provide renewable energy for the campus to a rigorous recycling and waste management system, including a rainwater harvesting tank that feeds into an automated irrigation system. Recycled materials and ecological finishings were used throughout, and advanced technology, such as sensor-activated lighting and LED task lighting, were installed to help reduce emissions.

The campus building also has multiple bicycle parks, two bicycle repair stations, end-of-trip cycling facilities, with skateboard and scooter storage and e-bike charging stations. Throughout the campus, advanced wayfinding signage is used in an innovative way to encourage students to avoid carbon-emitting practises, such as using elevators when not necessary.

Robina is also TAFE Queensland’s first BYOD (bring your own device) campus, helping to reduce technology waste, encourage collaborative learning and make the transition from campus to home study easier. There’s also no printing on the premises, to reduce paper waste.

SHAPE also ensured their own processes were sustainable, from recycling vinyl flooring and copper wiring, through to dedicated rubbish disposal and the strong partnerships developed with the client, designers and project managers.

In recognition of its commitment to sustainability, the TAFE Queensland Robina campus was awarded silver in the Construction category at the recent World Federation of Colleges and Polytechnics 2022 Awards of Excellence.