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About the SURI Project

A Design-Led Initiative, Taking EPS Formed Concrete Construction and Building Design Into The Future

The SURI Project was commenced in 2012 during academic research into EPS/ICF formed concrete as a Sustainable and Resilient method of construction for post-disaster residential Design. Building on previous experience of this type of construction within private architectural practice, the project continues to evolve through extensive in-house fact-based and design-based building research of theoretical and proven baselines, technical guidelines, established housing performance indicators, and legislatory requirements. This process informs the development of specific design and technical solutions and the establishment of new standards of future high-performing residential building. 

The project is the work of Architects and Designers with widespread and long-term design, project management, construction and technical problem-solving experience and expertise, and is a thoroughly design-led initiative driving constructed outcomes.

The SURI Project is focussed on low-medium density Urban Housing which may seem a small target, however it is by far the most prolific building type throughout the world. It transforms the largest land areas and provides home and living accomodation for entire populations. 

Our research has revealed significant problems exist within new and existing housing stock in many locations. These include such things as vulnerability to extreme natural events, poor thermal performance contributing to poor health and excessive energy costs, lack of durability, and excessive ecological impacts and toxicity of materials in common use. These problems are further intensified by the steadily increasing age of existing housing stock, with much now needing urgent replacement.

The SURI research work has been located in a number of regions that have experienced disaster events including extreme wind, bushfire, floods and severe earthquakes. Each of these locations has provided an abundance of empirical data and first-hand observations that reveal the extent of how historic construction decisions actually contributed to damage in these events, and the importance of robust new solutions for authentically ‘Re-Building Better’ in the recovery and reconstruction phases. 

These environments have also provided unique and unparalleled opportunities to re-assess the entire subject of design and construction methodology and investigate new ways of approaching housing design and construction that will not only address disaster risk, but also deliver comprehensive performance and liveability increases overall.

The SURI Project is focussed on new approaches using reinforced concrete as a primary structural material integrated with industrial construction techniques and best-practice Modern Methods of Construction (MMC’s). The SURI Project uniquely combines Concrete and MMC with Sustainable Construction objectives and ecologically-based Resilience Thinking within a comprehensive design-based system development process. This is new work and opens the door to a new era of building evolution.

To assist this, the SURI Project is developing active collaboration with leading international Industry sectors and University researchers to ensure a global relevance, reach and transportability of techniques and knowledge.

The research work completed to this stage of the project will be embodied in the SURI Project Research House. This building has been specifically designed as a working test-bed to validate the aims, objectives and principles developed within the SURI Project and provide valuable data for further research and development. It will also demonstrate the effectiveness of new approaches to design, procurement and construction that can be available in commercial adoption of the systems developed.

Read further to learn more about our discoveries, why we are doing this, some alternative ways of thinking and how new approaches to building that breaks with tradition can provide viable alternatives and universally best-practice ways of building a better future urban environment.