University of Queensland - Bio Sciences Precinct, Chancellors Place & Michie Forecourt
Prior to redevelopment this major public transport node and research facility was a combination of green-houses and infill building stock bounded by a dilapidated and confusing pedestrian and vehicular environment featuring a plethora of dangerous conflicting zebra crossings. It was a disparate site resulting from the construction of numerous building styles over a number of decades with little regard for the "spaces in between".
Working closely with Daryl Jackson Architects on behalf of CSIRO and UQ, Tract designed and documented 3 hectares of building landscape and urban works on the inner western edge of the St Lucia Campus. The resultant QBP Building and Chancellors Place is the iconic campus arrival building and avenue from the west and offers the first experience of the campus for those arriving by Bus Public Transit.
Redeveloping the bus interchange and public realm along Chancellors Place whilst under continual use was a key component and challenge for the project. Whilst the $95 million research building is singularly impressive, no less impressive and far more widely experienced and accessible is the $4 million of urban works in which the building nestles, including the rationalisation of vehicle and pedestrian movements to create a legible, attractive and safe public transit interface.
Critical to the design success has been the robust civic materials, enduring indigenous planting scheme, intuitive way-finding arrangements, safe movement, and enhanced visual and physical links to the historic Great Court. Throughout the design these key elements have been thoughtfully composed to respect the disparate campus architectural styles from Heritage Sandstone to Brutalist Concrete to Modern Glazed.
This disparity of styles was particularly evident tor the Michie Forecourt wherein a delicate intervention was required to sensitively integrate the juxtaposition of Modernist terracing and lawns with the informality of native plantings and coarse cultural stonework. In developing the design, we respected the borrowed and temporary display of indigenously significant stones whilst delivering a functional courtyard which complimented the major eras of campus built form.
Overall the design provides a level of symmetry, selective formality and controlled informality which was previously lacking and clearly articulates function and movement through material usage and arrangement whilst allowing for flexibility of purpose and adaptation of usage and future use evolution.