About the project

The Aquaria Research Laboratory is a new three story research building providing The University of Queensland St Lucia with state of the art salt and fresh water based facilities. The brief was to provide a robust and versatile space which could be added to and fitted out in any configuration as experiments are developed in the future.

The building is confined to the courtyard space of the heritage listed Goddard building, the overall height matching the office window sills of the adjoining building. Aquaria is broken into three elements – the labs, the physical circulation and the mechanical circulation – each with a distinct character.

The structure has been designed with a single skin cladding system forming the final finish externally and internally. A modular system of materials was developed during the design process, addressing the location and access constraints. A free standing lift services the Aquaria and a rooftop animal holding facility.

The folded copper screen is natural copper featuring a perforated pattern reminiscent of a polymerase chain reaction DNA strand, a form of research proposed for the laboratory. The highly serviced building provides 5 x individual research bays and a level dedicated to aquatic observation tanks and swimming flume testing equipment.