The Precinct Energy Project (PEP) was a flagship project in the implementation of low carbon energy generation in Victoria and provided a focal point for the regeneration of downtown Dandenong, a satellite city outside Melbourne. The PEP was designed to supply buildings in a seven-hectare redevelopment precinct with electricity and heating thermal energy (Cogeneration) in the form of hot water with twice the efficiency of a traditional power station, with correspondingly reduced carbon emissions. In addition, some buildings were able to utilize the hot water produced to run absorption chillers to provide cooling, resulting in even greater efficiencies, and further reduced emissions. The screen-like surface of the PEP aims to provoke thought about the environment, power consumption and our future in a warming world in a free associative way. The PEP is an essay in free association, as hinted by the sampling (through gradated perforations) of the splatter image on the elevation to the plaza. Buildings, like splatter, can be experienced and read in many different ways by people. The surface of the PEP shifts between abstraction and image. The abstract shape interacts with the big power-points and the big switch on the removable astro-turf wall (where the engines can be removed for maintenance) encouraging free association. On the rear laneway there is a cogeneration super graphic diagramming the inside workings of the building. The dot matrix display on the front canopy displays information about power production, consumption and greenhouse gas savings from the building. At night locals congregate around it in the plaza like a television in a living room.
Precince Energy Project – PEP
Nervegna Reed Architecture is a Melbourne based, award winning, multi-disciplinary architecture practice, working on projects spanning all types of architecture, urban design and media. Recent projects range from a rural art gallery in Maryborough (featured in the Australian pavilion at the 2023 Venice Biennale), crisis housing for the Salvation Army and large-scale urban design in China. NR’s projects include The Victoria Quaker Centre, the Arrow Studio and the Precinct Energy Project in Dandenong. The PEP led the way in Australian architecture and urbanism for green district energy, being the first precinct in Australia to be powered by co-generation. Nervegna Reed also extends their architectural dialogue with writing and the making of videos and video installations for exhibitions.
Toby Reed (Lead Design Architect), Peter Hogg, Anna Nervegna