SMITHFIELD – In July 2013, Australian James Cook University proudly brought to the public’s attention its new Cairns campus building, as the project finally reached completion. International architectural practice Woods Bagot, alongside local RPA Architects, undertook the design and construction of the institution’s affiliated research centre located in suburban Smithfield, Queensland, Australia.

The Cairns Institute conducts various research activities engaging in the development of tailored and innovative sustainable solutions for tropical environments. The architects’ proposal expresses a clear understanding of the functional and physical requirements of such a facility as it significantly contributes to the improvement of tropical communities’ quality of life.

Through an intelligent design, embedded with a deep knowledge of local cultures and conditions, the architects successfully bridge the relationship between the energy-efficient building and its lavish tropical vicinity. Making sustainability an actual aesthetic outcome was of interest to both Woods Bagot and RPA Architects. The research centre is therefore wrapped in an elegant metallic lattice that serves as a shading device allowing for the creation of a variety of localised microclimates.

As a way to stress the institute’s world-leading status, the design led by Woods Bagot’s principal Mark Damant, intends to meet the very highest technological standards and provide the university’s selected researchers with collaborative working environments.

‘A truly imaginative and integrated design solution that was distinctive and uniquely desirable to James Cook University’s community was paramount,’ stated Damant as he was looking back on the premises of the new headquarter project. Needless to say that the responsive result will most definitely deliver far beyond the Cairns Institute’s expectations.

Photos Christopher Frederick Jones