The Cairns Institute at the James Cook University in north Queensland is encased in a giant, basket-like skin that works to control the amount of daylight the interior receives. Designed by Woods Bagot, the research facility is dedicated to research in the social sciences and humanities that will help improve quality of life for the region and other similar tropical areas. Sustainable design works to reduce energy use and save money for the university all while setting a positive example and attracting top researchers to the University.
Completed in the summer of 2013, The Cairns Institute is a tropical research facility that will serve as a repository of regional knowledge and research capacity. JCU Vice-Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding explains, “World-leading researchers in the social sciences and humanities, with a focus on the tropics, will work from this building. From here they can collaborate with diverse teams from more than 20 academic disciplines across JCU’s campuses in Cairns, Townsville and Singapore.” The building and its interior creates a stimulating environment for researchers, students and staff.
Surrounded by tropical rainforest on three sides, the building’s form in inspired by this environment and works to blend into it. The skin, is an evolving trellis, that defines the building and works as a passive control device to minimize heat gain. Site and building orientation along with micro climates work to create a comfortable environment both inside and out. Energy efficient and sustainable design helps reduce costs and contributes to the University’s goal of more sustainable campus.
Images ©Christopher Frederick Jones