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The building designed by Woods Bagot gives concrete expression to James Cook University’s aim to become one of the world’s leading research universities in the tropics.

As a repository of regional knowledge and research capacity, the institute will be perfectly positioned to make a significant contribution to the development of a sustainable quality of life for tropical communities. A truly imaginative and integrated design solution that was distinctive and uniquely desirable to the university’s community was paramount.

The design team, led by Mark Damant, in collaboration with RPA Architects, had an opportunity to create a building that represented its place and its context in a new and exciting way which has resulted in the delivery of cutting edge design elements. Attracting the best researchers was the central aim of the university, so it was crucial that the proposed building design would create an environment that optimised the working experience to a point where people would love engaging with the building.

Intrinsic to the design proposition was a concept that celebrated the rainforest setting and enriched the place experience. An evolving landscape skin, a ‘trellis’, defines the building and encapsulates the aesthetic and sun control. As well as creating a variety of micro climate ecologies around the building that are suited to their function and orientation, are some of the design elements that have been proposed. The design will aim to assist in minimising running costs for the university whilst contributing to the quality of environment, and will be in line with the university’s aspirations to achieve a sustainable outcome for the building.

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