The Division of Entomology’s new Biosciences Laboratories building skilfully balances functional planning with the constant need to adapt to new demands in scientific research. Key to the Division’s research development is the need for modern molecular biology facilities operating at Physical Containment Level 2 (PC2). The new design presents a worldclass standard in the areas of bio-security and biological control consistent with requirements imposed by the Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR).
Constructed over two storeys the first-floor laboratories are articulated through angled walls of metal punctuated with sun control elements that both block direct sunlight and ‘borrow’ reflected light into the building. Services equipment essential to the design is concealed behind curved rooftop screens and glass circulation cores provide a strong visual identity. Rational planning is enhanced with ‘visual’ corridors that link the principal spatial types of generic labs, support spaces and administration.
The layout promotes a workplace and research environment that fosters collaboration, improved safety and hygiene. Enclosed bridges seamlessly link common functions in adjacent buildings thereby creating a truly integrated facility. As a stand-alone building the new Bioscience Laboratories successfully maintains the integrity and heritage value of the existing adjacent buildings. The Division of Entomology at Black Mountain is listed on the Commonwealth Heritage register an example of one of Australia’s earliest research facilities. The opportunity to remove dilapidated structures and potentially hazardous materials has revitalised the site and has enabled the 1929 building to continue to be used as it was originally intended.