The Noosa Flexible Learning Centre by Bligh Tanner Consulting Engineers, Fulton Trotter Architects and InSiteEMLA for Edmund Rice Education offers a welcoming and distinctly non-institutional learning environment for disenfranchised youth in Noosa.

The project's stormwater strategy uses low-impact design approaches to mimic the site's natural hydrology, thereby avoiding the need for any underground pipes or stormwater infrastructure. It is a great example of how good design can achieve better environmental outcomes at lower costs.

This project is important as it demonstrates that stormwater quality and hydrology can be managed in a way which exceeds best practice standards, while also reducing development costs.

Key initiatives:

  • Maintaining ground-level permeability across 90 per cent of the site
  • Developing approximately 1/3 of the site with buildings on raised piers (consistent with a Noosa beach-house feel) to preserve ground level infiltration characteristics, large areas of vegetation and shallow tree roots
  • A carpark made of permeable pavement to avoid stormwater runoff
  • Roofwater runoff captured in rainwater tanks
  • A 20 per cent reduction of peak flows (based on a hydrological analysis)
  • The overall water quality performance was analysed and found to exceed best practice load reductions for total suspended solids, total phosphorus and total nitrogen
  • The use of lightweight, raised construction (in favour of slab-on-ground)
  • Extensive roofwater capture and reuse
  • Infiltration of surplus roofwater into soils beneath buildings
  • Trafficable, permeable paving
  • No underground stormwater pipes
  • The site design mimics the natural hydrology of the site through avoiding ground-level impervious surfaces and capture and reuse of roofwater. Pre-and post development flow frequency curves are almost identical

Images: Fulton Trotter Architects