A climatically-responsive ‘smart skin' covering RMIT University's new design hub in Melbourne will track the sun using computer automation to shade and power the building.
ASX-listed Watpac was contracted to build the state-of-the-art facility for $62 million.
It is behind Woolworths' $50 million data centre and the $80 million Cochlear global headquarters at Macquarie University.
RMIT's smart skin has 16,000 sand-blasted glass cells underpinned by a system to track the Sun's movements.
To achieve a Green Star rating, the building included an subfloor air-distribution system and "extensive energy metering and display of live energy data".
The hub will be at the north-west corner of Swanston and Victoria streets, on the site of the former Carlton United Brewery.
Work will start immediately for completion by the middle of 2011.
The hub will house design research groups and post-graduate programs for tte university across disciplines such as industrial design, engineering and creative media.