Building Design

    Cairns Institute building

    “It’s about making a building that people want to be in, not have to be in, even if they do not actually need to be there.”

    The Cairns Institute’s award-winning building reinterprets tropical architecture in a design intended to inspire collaboration, inquiry and sense of place. The building celebrates its setting against the backdrop of the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and showcases a variety of construction and environmental innovations.

    Five northern Queensland firms were shortlisted in JCU’s search for an architect to design the $25 million headquarters of The Cairns Institute. Following a public exhibition of short-listed designs, the successful consortium comprising RPA Architects of Townsville and Woods Bagot of Brisbane were announced as winners of the rigorous selection process in October 2010.

    The Cairns Institute comprises three separate structures linked by a suspended footbridge, covered atrium and intersecting ‘knowledge wall’, providing diverse and flexible spaces in which to work and interact. Enveloping the whole is a dynamic lattice screen reminiscent of Queensland vernacular architecture. 

    This state-of-the-art facility houses a range of research, exhibition, meeting and public spaces. Dedicated facilities include: the AudioVisual Laboratory for Anthropological Research (ALTAR), the Tropical Archaeology Research Laboratory, and conference and meeting rooms.

    Construction was managed by Hansen Yuncken Pty Ltd and the building opened on 17 July 2013 by Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science, Research and Higher Education, Kim Carr.


    Australian Institute of Architects, Far North Queensland Regional Commendation 2014

    Master Builders Far North Queensland Project of the Year 2014


    Video About the Building (YouTube)

    Stories about the building

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