The CSIRO Phytotron in Canberra is a facility of significant historical interest, in terms of scientific discovery, and Australian modernism – a Roy Grounds design, completed in 1962. The historic building was reinvigorated via new laboratory philosophy to meet state of the art Plant Science.
Redeveloping the ground level laboratory space to the current laboratory standards within a building of significant historical importance was a challenge. Critical was the introduction of mechanical systems, air pressure regimes, PC2/OGTR containment requirements, laboratory flow and function within a space of total floor to soffit height of 2.7m, and to minimally impact the historic envelope. A visible and celebrated central growth cabinet room at the centre of the floor plate is serviced by scientific support laboratories in close proximity.
The entry lobby provides an exciting public space, with views deep into the research areas, enabling visitors to enjoy the research work underway without the need to enter the containment zones. The original Roy Grounds tubular entry canopy was restored to original design, including the replacement of some of the missing bronze letters to the original 1962 caption, as appropriate now was it was in 1962 -“Cherish the earth, for man will live by it forever”.
(This article and some photographs are taken from the Australian Institute of Architects website, to read the original article please click here)
Commendation in The Australian Institute of Architects Commendation for Heritage (ACT)