Guida Moseley Brown Architects designs new research facility to promote exchange of information
The Mawson Institute was designed to provide a base for widely differing research and to promote informal exchange between the research groups. Located on the wetland-corridor-edge of the campus the building provides, for the first time, an engagement with this unique landscape. The plan is based upon two near parallel linear wings, in east-west orientation, that provide for modular flexible laboratory accommodation in one and for offices and support spaces in the other.
The laboratories, offices, and open-office spaces share direct visibility and access, while the interlinking space has been designed to promote the benefits of cross-disciplinary informal interaction. This space is light-filled from four south-facing roof monitors. The office wing can be seen as a single level which 'folds' over two storeys and provides administrative offices and staff meeting room at the upper level overlooking the wetland and distant views (also encouraging informal contact and exchange). A single slope roof creates and defines this extended space. To minimise disruption to research, an external 'peristitial' services corridor allows for uninterrupted laboratory space as well independently accessed services.
The service spine is enclosed by a 'green wall' – a secure chain link structure that is planted with vines to provide a differing association with the landscape, as well as mitigate dust from adjacent undeveloped open spaces. A large meeting room is positioned at the campus-side entry lobby so that it is accessible and inviting to the broader campus community; the earth berm surrounding this room helps link the building with the open landscape and the wall of the supporting cantilever base is formed in corresponding response. The steel structure is enclosed in pre-finished metal panels, and the highly energy efficient building employs such elements as external sunscreens, low-e glazing, chilled beams, shaded skylights, and other measures to balance the varying requirements of the users and the differing spatial types.
Guida Moseley Brown Architects + Russell&Yelland Architects in Association