New life sciences in the Outback

26 Feb 2010

S2F's latest laboratory brings science to life in regional Australia

Charles Sturt University, as the largest regional University in Australia, provides the only campus offering Veterinary Science programmes outside metropolitan centres. Completed in October 2009, The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory provides facilities for training in the early years of its Veterinary Science program, as well as offering opportunities for post-graduate training and research. The facility also supports commercial operations and provides assistance in the investigation of animal health, plus natural and experimental diseases. These specialist laboratory facilities require physical containment to PC2 and PC3 standards. As a multi-disciplinary organisation focussed on the delivery of controlled environments, S2F was selected as the principal design consultant.

Considering the campus’ rugged rural setting and CSU’s role as a regional hub, S2F selected generic agricultural building materials, reflecting this unique site. The simplicity of profiled steel sheeting, ship-lapped timber panelling, steel mesh and concrete all combine with strong angular forms to create a sense of historic permanence. Contrasting with its clinical interior, the vernacular ‘tin-shed’ envelope offers an invitation to witness science in action, creating an educational resource, not just for the students, but the broader community.

Given the sophisticated and technical nature of the work being carried out, services coordination was an integral part of providing an efficient and successful high-performance solution. S2F’s engineering disciplines were incorporated at every level throughout the documentation and briefing that allowed for effective and streamlined services design. The harsh Wagga Wagga climate, ranging through dust storm, drought, high wind and flooding, with temperatures from sub-zero to in-excess-of 40 degrees centigrade meant that environmental performance was imperative. The VDL design solution epitomises the very essence of a ‘smart’ Life Sciences, learning and research facility in a regional setting. A facility that is not only cost effective but innovative, appeals to its surrounds and is grounded in fundamental ESD principles.

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