New research facility at James Cook University to act as magnet for gifted minds
Following a public exhibition of five shortlisted designs, a concept by Woods Bagot and RPA Architects has been selected for The Cairns Institute, situated on the James Cook University (JCU) Cairns campus.
The new facility will act as a central research hub for the social sciences, humanities, law, and business sectors, examining the issues of importance to people in the tropics. A key role of the Institute’s design is to attract the highest calibre post-graduate students and researchers to the campus, placing the James Cook University on the global stage.
The purpose built complex will be interlaced with the existing environment, cradled on three sides by rain-forested slopes. An evolving landscape skin, known as a ‘trellis’ that defines the building and encapsulates aesthetics and sun control, as well as a variety of micro climate ecologies around the building, that are suited to their function and orientation, are some of the design elements that have been proposed.
The University has explicitly stated that it wishes the new building to achieve the equivalent to – or higher than – a Greenstar 5 rating, hence the designs retain the potential for ‘future adaptability’. Estimated costs of $25m will be substantially funded by a Federal Government grant of $19.5m and construction is on track to commence next year.
“Attracting the best researchers was the central aim of the university – it was crucial that our proposed building design would create an environment that optimises the working experience to a point that people would love engaging with the building,” Mark Damant, Principal, Woods Bagot said.
He continued: “A truly imaginative and integrated design solution that was distinctive and uniquely desirable to the JCU community was paramount. We had an opportunity to create a building that represented its place and its context in a new and exciting way – this spurred us on to deliver cutting edge design elements.”