2014 National Architecture Awards: Sir Zelman Cowen Award

UQ Advanced Engineering Building by Richard Kirk Architect Hassell Joint Venture Public Architecture: Sir Zelman Cowen Award Australian Institute of Architects

Jury citation

The jury was greatly impressed by this project, which has been designed as an open vessel for learning. Facilities and learning processes are highly visible to inspire both students and visitors. The architects have taken an extremely complex program – including teaching spaces, a 500-seat auditorium, laboratories, research facilities and office spaces – and resolved a building that is also a delightful space to occupy.

Set within the subtropical climate of the University of Queensland’s St Lucia campus, the building houses the School of Civil Engineering and the Queensland Centre for Advanced Materials Processing and Manufacturing. Three volumes feed off a central “street,” a scheme which works both in plan and in section. A sense of discovery pervades the building, with key spaces open to view and explained to assist the learning process.

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Clear planning, innovative, flexible spaces and laboratories that allow for progressive teaching contribute to the success of this building. The large foyer has been used as a showcase for manufactured goods, displaying manufacturing processes and materials.

The whole project has become a “living building” to allow for finite measuring and monitoring of its performance in climatic and structural terms. The aim of the building is to be a lifelong learning tool directly related to the student curriculum.

As a public facility, this building excels. It has also been designed as a 5 Star Green Star building and therefore forms a new benchmark in sustainability in the subtropical region. This is an important achievement, with the potential for broad application throughout the community.

Read the project review by Haig Beck and Jackie Cooper from Architecture Australia.


Brisbane, Qld, Australia
Project Team
Richard Kirk, Paul Chang, Yee Jien, Andrew Drummond, Fedor Medek, Jonathan Ward, Stephen Chandler, Adam Laming, Mitch Reed, Shane Willmett, Erik Sziraki, Matthew Mahoney, Lynn Wang, Grace Egstorf, Mark Loughnan, Mark Roehrs, Mark Craig, Peter Hastings, Joe Soares, Daniel Loo, Alison Hortz, Catherine Van Der Heide, Troy King, BP Loh, George Taran, Nguyen Luu, Mac Young, Fraser Shiers, Cheong Kuen, Greg Allis, Amy Carrick
Acoustic engineer Arup
Certifier McKenzie Group
Communications and security Aurecon
Containment survey Cetec Pty Ltd
DDA McKenzie Group
Dry fire engineer Aurecon
ESD S2F, Cundall Australia
Electrical engineer Aurecon
Fire engineer AECOM
Landscape architect Hassell.
Mechanical and Hydraulic Engineers WSP Group
Quantity surveyor Rider Levett Bucknall – Melbourne
Risk and hazard consultant McKenzie Group
Structural, civil & facade engineer Aurecon
Theatre technical consultant Arup
Traffic engineers Aurecon
Vertical transportation Cundall Australia
Wet fire engineer WSP Group
Site details
Location Brisbane,  Qld,  Australia
Category Commercial / public buildings
Type Education, Universities / colleges
Project Details
Status Built



Published online: 6 Nov 2014
Words: National Architecture Awards Jury 2014
Images: Peter Bennetts


Architecture Australia, November 2014

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