News / May 2018
Friday 4 May 2018
The Science Place leads the way in scientific discovery and innovation

The Science Place, designed by HASSELL, is transforming scientific research, undergraduate education and postgraduate training at James Cook University’s Townsville campus in tropical northern Australia.

As the instantly recognisable ‘home of science’ on campus, the building links current and future scientists – previously dispersed around the campus in a variety of disconnected facilities – in one concentrated, central hub that’s bursting with activity and primed for growth.

Bringing together the university’s chemistry, bio-chemistry and biology research cohorts for the first time, the building combines research-led learning on the lower two levels with dedicated scientific research on the upper two floors – all linked by stacked atrium spaces and a central open stair accessible to all.

The building forms a key node on the central academic green activated with a cluster of cafés and a lecture theatre, connected to the building’s extensive informal learning hub on the lower levels. The hub – which gives students a place to call their own – connects problem-based learning studios and the super labs above.

HASSELL Principal Mark Roehrs says the consolidation of science disciplines under one roof is pivotal not only for learning but also overall student experience.

“We’ve seen a surge in the desire to house STEM activities under the one roof as a way to increase cross-disciplinary education and knowledge sharing, and The Science Place is a prime example of achieving this goal. This not only makes sense from a building and asset point of view, but also for student experience as it increases interaction.” Mark said.

The building’s cutting-edge infrastructure includes two 150-seat ‘super labs’ for chemistry and biology – able to accommodate varying simultaneous class sizes and subjects, dramatically increasing space utilisation. Flexible research labs, which are physically and visually connected to lab support areas and open offices, give the university spaces that can be adapted to meeting changing needs over time.

The Science Place is a standard setter in sustainable design, earning Australia’s first LEED Gold rating for an education building. Among other measures, the building recovered and recycled 96% of all the previous building materials – a new record for a large development in Townsville.

Read more articles for May 2018

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