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