In very warm places, it may be pretty hard to keep buildings comfortably cool during the summer without using air conditioning (which accounts for around 1/3 of peak energy consumption in southern cities). In Melbourne, however, this issues was carefully considered.
Federation Square, which is a source of big controversy, became a public space that locals had longed for. It accommodates galleries, studios and cafes, and not only is it now a cultural center, but also a place for protests and festivals.
As I said, people are debating a lot about it. Two days ago, on the small conference dedicated to Landscape Architecture at SLU, two Australians had completely polarized views about the value of the place. One loved it, another hated. Materials it was sourced with, design and higher than expected costs caused some unease among Melburnians, but what I find interesting is the cooling system used under the buildings:
(image credit: http://www.fedsquare.com, no changes made)
This “labyrinth” is both a foundation for the buildings and a cooling system. Simply put, it catches warm air, chills it and distributes to the atrium and the galleries, which makes any additional cooling not needed. In colder months, it works the other way around, storing heat inside. This significantly decreases the site’s energy consumption. Cool, isn’t it?