JAMES COOK UNIVERSITY (JCU) TOWNSVILLE INNOVATION COMPLEX
Architects in Association
KIRK with Charles Wright Architects & i4 Architecture
An exciting and transformative opportunity not just for the university but the North Queensland community and on a global scale, for the tropical regions of the world. The JCU TIC demonstrates performance and innovation that puts JCU at the forefront of tropical innovation - nationally and internationally.
We propose an integration of the TIC, Ideas Market and University Mall programs to form a single, unified project for the university. Through amalgamating the Ideas Market and University Mall with the TIC program, we create a gathering hub within the university. An interactive street serves to gather the labs, workplaces, learning areas and market program with high levels of visual and physical connection.
The crossroads formed at the North point of the centre inform the planning - capturing activity from this hub and feeding it through and amongst the various collaborative spaces within the building. The street like frontage also encourages connection between the campus’ proposed central plaza to the South.
The form of the building is entirely conceived in response to the site that is situated in an evolving context with climatic conditions that yield a unique architectural response specific to the tropics whilst establishing JCU as a knowledge center for tropical architecture.
Our approach to the building was to make a building that redefines what it means to build in the tropics – by allowing the façade to be entirely transparent from within and without through reliance on a large dramatic parasol roof conceived as a series of folded plates.
The idea that the shape uses simple structural elements provides the necessary structural performance is a reference to a universal idea of innovation.
The TIC building form opens up to the Mall and places all of the key engagement components to activate movement along that spine through the campus. From the Industry Garage, to the atria, the MMS and the Café with the End of Trip facility, and the Workshop
The proposed Technical Innovation Complex (TIC) site is positioned on a significant gateway within the JCU Townsville Campus. Positioned at the junction of the Mount Stuart and Magnetic Island axis, the TIC project is at the heart of the industry crossroads. The northern and western edges of the TIC site will activate the Mount Stuart Axis high street and University Mall respectively. Most importantly, the TIC project will be a catalyst for the crossroad junction, informing the future organisation and function of the central plaza and crossroad hub to play its appropriate role in achieving JCU’s aspiration of the campus masterplan.
The Townsville Campus is an evolving campus, TIC will be a catalyst project that will adopt the current masterplan in addition to redefining and highlighting the future possibilities of the campus. The unique Townsville tropical climate is the basis for developing an authentic building response to the place, and in turn the enduring identity of the TIC.
JCU TIC is a next generation pedagogical innovation space - an exciting opportunity for JCU to take the lead in teaching, learning and research. The TIC replaces 20,000m² of conventional learning & research spaces with 10,000m² of new pedagogocal space. Improved utilisation tools enhance multi-modal, & social learning spaces - flexible areas where students, academics and industry participants can dynamically interact to cross-pollinate and develop ideas.
Sustainable buildings respond to their social, physical and educational context. Our vision is for a sustainable technical innovation centre that defines a new benchmark in passive techniques leveraged with low energy active systems that are demonstrable and effective. External solar control is an essential aspect of any tropically-located building but to achieve a building largely reliant on passive cooling on a large scale institutional building in the tropics is unprecedented.
Given the educational setting, we felt it important the sustainability strategies should be simple and not reliant on expensive or bespoke, technically driven systems. It is paramount to demonstrate that sustainable design is about innovation and an integrated design response from first principles that capitalizes on the natural environment.
A permeable building form enhances campus micro-climate. Through separation of the buildings, air movement is enhanced, providing higher comfort levels at the ground -plane. This comfort allows us to deliver on JCU’s key desire to provide a walkable, connected campus.
Through utilising performative design technologies, we confidently demonstrate it is possible to provide comfortable mixed mode spaces and improved micro-climate of the building environment – particularly in the University Mall.