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Woods Bagot Designs Butterfly-Inspired Biological Sciences Building at the University of New South Wales

Woods Bagot Designs Butterfly-Inspired Biological Sciences Building at the University of New South Wales

Woods Bagot has revealed designs for the new Biological Sciences building at the University of New South Wales (UNSW Australia). Currently under construction, the 21,000 square meter (226,000 square foot) building will provide world-class facilities for UNSW biomedical and environmental researchers and create a new northern gateway for the university’s upper campus.

In the design process, Woods Bagot explored a series of iterative responses aimed at dividing the eight-story structure into three distinct elements: the laboratory box, the workplace box, and the atrium. The building skin takes inspiration from natural elements, such as the movements of a butterfly and the colors of Australian rock landscapes, to produce a distinct aesthetic for the Biomedical Precinct, as well as reference the terra cotta heritage on the university grounds.

Courtesy of Woods Bagot
Courtesy of Woods Bagot

“The building’s external, predominantly solid facade provides a protective layer akin to an animal’s skin, linking to the building’s purpose as a research space for the natural environment,” said Woods Bagot Director and Global Health and Science sector leader Georgia Singleton.

While the building’s sweeping form draws from the macro view of the butterfly’s flight path, the micro view of its wings can been seen in the subtle gradation of color from light to dark.

Adds Singleton, “Deliberate patterning along the façade imitates the Monarch butterfly flapping its wings as it travels across the surface, leaving behind a trail of bright terracotta blades.”

Inside, flexibility and adaptability were set as the key design goals to allow for multiple configurations within the space and to allow laboratories to evolve over the life of the building. With a capacity of 550 staff and PhD students and 360 undergraduate biomedical students, the building was also designed to promote collaboration through shared services and the idea of ‘science on display.'

“The design integrates current trends of transparency, featuring open and collaborative work spaces adjacent to specialist support zones including dedicated write-up space,” said Woods Bagot Director of Laboratory Design Leslie Ashor.

The project is expected to be completed mid-2017.

  • Architects

  • Location

    Kensington NSW 2052, Australia
  • Design Team

    Georgia Singleton, Leslie Ashor, John Norman, Chris Savva, Stephen Taskin, Anthony Chow, Lisa Fathalla, Alexandra Smith, Bradhly Le, Phoebe Hogan, Adam Waugh, Kristian OBrien, Terri Alvarez, Maurizio Lamanna
  • Project Manager

    Capital Insight
  • Town Planner

  • Landscape Architect

    Black Beetle
  • Structural Engineer

    Robert Bird Group
  • Building Services Engineer

    Norman Disney & Young
  • Civil

    Robert Bird Group
  • Quantity Surveyor

    Brookfield Multiplex
  • Geotech

    Robert Bird Group
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

    Peter Bennetts
  • Area

    21000.0 m2

Project gallery

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Project location

Address:Kensington NSW 2052, Australia

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Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: Patrick Lynch. "Woods Bagot Designs Butterfly-Inspired Biological Sciences Building at the University of New South Wales" 19 Jul 2016. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/791686/woods-bagot-designs-butterfly-inspired-biological-sciences-building-at-the-university-of-new-south-wales> ISSN 0719-8884

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