Ecosciences Precinct

The Ecosciences Precinct brings together 1,000 scientists from four state agencies and six CSIRO divisions into a single, collaborative research environment. The project achieves a significant innovation by creating a new facility ‘without walls’, encouraging knowledge exchange and discovery through use of shared spaces and resources. This ambitious plan required a highly collaborative multi-agency briefing in order to establish clear, well-articulated goals. Briefing with high-level stakeholders and decision makers ensured a deeply consultative process was carried through all project phases, from conceptual design to the detailed resolution of room requirements. Dr Bea Duffield, Project Director (Major Infrastructure), Queensland Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) explained, “The process that HASSELL used to engage our scientists and support staff in the design has been outstanding and is playing a major role in helping us work with our people to move from five traditional research facilities to these two world class facilities. This process is also critical in developing the links with other agencies to ensure more collaborative and cost effective science is carried out at the new Science Precincts.” The three north-orientated wings are linked by an internal multi-level street, optimising vertical and horizontal connections via atria, lifts and open staircases. This central street draws staff out of their quiet work zones into a lively hub comprising common areas and meeting rooms. External walkways and stairs define courtyard ends and provide access to the network of offices located parallel to the main street. The physically contained lab zones are located to the north and south to allow unimpeded staff interactions between office areas. The tripartite model for the generic laboratories consists of three adjacent zones – office, laboratory and laboratory support – accommodating varying group sizes and functions in a generic, flexible and adaptable configuration of loose lab furnishings and suspended service spines, designed to accommodate change over time. A high level of transparency between the three zones allows research teams to be connected whether they are at their office or lab workstation. The lab floors are directly connected to the shared service floors by goods lifts at street ends by-passing the office zones. Shared facilities, used by the large research population, are centrally located and managed, generating significant space savings and operational economies of scale. Four stratum of levels are provided: _a roof-top level of greenhouses _a clean floor for IT, sterilisation, media preparation and plant _two basement levels for boats, 4WDs, marine and greenhouse processing _a controlled environment room complex, central stores and goods management Together with the team from Arup, we developed a sustainability rating tool for laboratories, currently not addressed by existing Australian Green Building Council tools. A 4 Star Green Star equivalent rating was achieved using this tool, with initiatives focusing on northern orientation, extensive sun-shading, advanced building control systems, energy, water and waste efficiency. The Ecosciences Precinct needed to respond to the unique climate of Brisbane, Australia – a city that experiences around 300 days of sunshine per year. A solar control system was developed to effectively reduce thermal load at high level away from the facades and to filter the harsh sub-tropical sunlight. The three wings are separated by landscaped courtyards, the whole enveloped by a perforated aluminium veil to create monumental outdoor rooms and internal spaces washed by a soft filtered light. This innovation protects the laboratory and courtyard spaces while at the same time, creating a unique facade aesthetic.

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