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  1. ArchDaily
  2. Projects
  3. Visitor Center
  4. Australia
  5. Charles Wright Architects
  6. 2011
  7. Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre / Charles Wright Architects

Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre / Charles Wright Architects

  • 01:00 - 31 May, 2012
Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre / Charles Wright Architects
Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre / Charles Wright Architects, ©  Patrick Bingham Hall
© Patrick Bingham Hall

©  Patrick Bingham Hall ©  Patrick Bingham Hall ©  Patrick Bingham Hall ©  Patrick Bingham Hall +16

  • Architects

  • Location

    Cairns, Australia
  • Project Team

    Charles Wright, Richard Blight, Justine Wright, Katja Tsychkova
  • Project Managers

    Charles Wright Architects / Cairns Regional Council / Aecom
  • Landscape Architect

    JNP Pawsey & Prowse
  • Quantity Surveyor

    Turner & Townsend
  • ESD / Energy Efficiency

    Brad Pinches Consulting
  • Builder

    Hansen Yuncken
  • Hydraulics

    CMRP Pty Ltd
  • Size

    GFA 1415m2
  • Cost

    $4.7M
  • Client/Council

    Cairns Regional Council
  • Structural & Civil

    ARUP Pty Ltd
  • Electrical & Mechanical

    WSP Lincolne Scott Australia Pty Ltd
  • Time to complete

    4 months Design & Documentation, 10 months construction
  • Project Year

    2011
  • Photographs

From the architect. Camouflaged in an Australian rainforest located in Far North Queensland, this unique gateway into the Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre is the recipient of the 2012 Eddie Oribin Award for Building of the Year presented by the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). In June 2009, Charles Wright Architects (CWA) was invited by the Cairns Regional Council to enter a limited competition for the design of a new Visitors’ Centre for the Cairns Botanical Gardens. The Council sought fresh and challenging ideas to create a memorable piece of tropical architecture that would blend seamlessly into the surrounding environment.

©  Patrick Bingham Hall
© Patrick Bingham Hall


©  Patrick Bingham Hall
© Patrick Bingham Hall

In an effort to satisfy the Council's request, CWA proposed a mirrored facade that literally reflects the surrounding gardens.  The architects' describe it as having a “visual effect similar to the suit as worn by the alien hunter in the original 1987 Predator film.” The camouflaged gateway houses a café terrace, information and exhibition space, and offices for the council staff. It activates the pedestrian promenade and links the gardens with the Arts Centre, while serving as a cool and dry zone all year round for tourists visiting the often hot and wet environment of the tropical gardens.

©  Patrick Bingham Hall
© Patrick Bingham Hall

In collaboration with mechanical, structural, hydraulic and landscape consultants, CWA was able to incorporated the following ESD initiatives into the mirrored canopy concept: solar panels for feedback into the energy grid, stormwater harvesting tanks, mixed mode air-conditioning systems, low energy light fittings throughout, low water usage fittings, long life cycle efficiency materials and construction, solar treatment to all windows, naturally ventilated circulation corridors and shaded exposed thermal mass internally.

©  Patrick Bingham Hall
© Patrick Bingham Hall

The jury commented, “A courageous and radical departure from classic crafted and lightweight Queensland visitor centres, this alternative approach to environmental fit has clearly generated a potent sense of place and use of light. Exhibits both outstanding working and visitor environments within a clear sustainability ethos.”

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address. Cite: "Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre / Charles Wright Architects" 31 May 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/239957/cairns-botanic-gardens-visitors-centre-charles-wright-architects/>
Read comments

15 Comments

ryan | yan | yanti · June 11, 2012

see this.... it reminds me of Aiba&#39s Mirror Man XDD http://t.co/r524KO28

Nicholas Patten · June 03, 2012

Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre. http://t.co/ICZJZQoO

agadir bleue · June 03, 2012

Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre / Charles Wright Architects http://t.co/wdw9jVhC #architecture

Ben Haworth · June 03, 2012

Did somebody say &#39Pimped&#39?:
http://t.co/Kglu9uP7
#CharlesWrightArchitects

Antje pasinga.com · June 02, 2012

Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre / Charles Wright Architects http://t.co/1sSc9NRE via @archdaily #architecture #design

Antje Pasinga · June 02, 2012

Nice job - I think the reflective materials work well in that context - don't if jamie has a point with the bird thing

Santi Maggio Savasta · June 02, 2012

Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre / Charles Wright Architects http://t.co/sjJkUeMu #Architecture #Architettura #Design

Margotte Pollux ? · June 02, 2012

Cairns #Botanic #Gardens Visitors Centre / Charles Wright Architects http://t.co/SZUu6ds1 #Architecture #Australia <3 <3 <3 <3

Marcos · June 02, 2012

Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre / Charles Wright Architects | ArchDaily http://t.co/mUUncT5E vía @archdaily

Aston Roberts · June 01, 2012

Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre / Charles Wright Architects http://t.co/Rvl0qm3p

James Lemanis · June 01, 2012

The reflective materials work well in that context, but the amphitheatre is a bit trippy.
http://t.co/33jREk9i
#architecture #Cairns

Erik Joya · June 01, 2012

Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre / Charles Wright Architects: Courtesy of Charles… http://t.co/0Mlml7K9

Josué Velasco · June 01, 2012

Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre / Charles Wright Architects | ArchDaily http://t.co/ZAeiUidI vía @archdaily

Archibuilt 2010 · June 01, 2012

Archi. Spotlight: Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre / Charles Wright Architects: Camouflaged in an Australi... http://t.co/akt80KVk

jamie go · June 01, 2012

Won't birds be knocking their brains out flying into this? Otherwise, I like it!

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