UNE, Greenhouse Precinct

Location: Armidale, Australia
Client: University of New England
Status: Completed 2010
JCA were successful in being appointed by the University of New England to undertake the design and documentation of their Greenhouse Precinct as part of a major funding application directed towards further development of the existing Agricultural Sciences Courses. The project required the coordination of complex and sophisticated equipment, necessary for research and teaching purposes. The precinct itself included a ‘Potting Shed’ facility housing laboratories, Offices, Teaching Spaces, Technology Rooms, Research Spaces and storage in addition to 2 new Greenhouse Facilities operating under PC 2 requirements. JCA worked closely with the appointed Project User Group (PUG) to design a facility that achieved a level of flexibility allowing staff to utilise spaces beyond what the project budget would enable. Much of the consideration was placed on the ability for the open ‘potting shed’ floor space to engage with other key spaces but also remain as a ‘dirty’ research environment. It required close proximity to the Greenhouse’s themselves but also needed to remain both separate and independent. Brickwork was used as the predominate material continuing the campus’s strong history of brickwork but through the integrated use of glazed bricks and contemporary forms the building retains a distinctly modern aesthetic. The potting shed is a derivative of the traditional farming shed of New England and through its volume sought to capture the size and spaciousness of these facilities. The greenhouse project offers a unique learning environment that continues UNE’s bold approach to new buildings on campus and offers fresh reinterpretation to the more scientific language adopted for similar developments.

Photography: Roger D'Souza