The vision for this project is to sustainably morph a utilitarian building into a 21st-century vision for on-campus teaching and research for the University of Southern Queensland.
The solution realised makes a dramatic statement celebrating its ‘Engineering’ purpose by having expressive structural engineering, celebrating the essential fume hood services, and exposed building services throughout.
The building has two main facades, one to the campus centre, and one to the ring road, successfully presenting both an outward civic presence and an active pedestrian campus frontage.
Dramatised with strong dynamic linear metallic cladding and large swatches of bold colour, the building’s stunning design not only achieves a dynamic aesthetic but also impressively addresses passive solar control sustainably and creatively, all while staying within a constrained budget.
The design emphasised ‘engineering on display’, offering a wide range of practical learning to engineering and surveying students.
The refurbishment saw the existing single-storey civil engineering lab transform into a two-storey teaching space with a new breakout space, full-height glass façade, robotics, automation, engineering laboratories, and an entry atrium. Using large glass walls and open areas throughout the building provides transparency, fosters collaboration and sparks curiosity – both inside and out.
“One of our biggest goals was to have a facility that showcased everything happening in the rooms and labs, from learning and designing, assembly of technology to testing, experimenting and optimisation,” she said. Vice-Chancellor Professor Geraldine Mackenzie.
“Having the labs, the technology and collaborative spaces boost our capacity for innovation and ability to conduct cutting-edge research.”
Another building feature is its unique structural health monitoring system, designed by the University’s engineering specialist, Dr Andy Nguyen. Multiple sensors embedded throughout the building allow students to monitor its structural health performance in real-time as part of their studies.
As a ‘living lab’, this building creates research and teaching opportunities across different engineering fields. The building’s performance is monitored for strain, stress, and deflection under real-time loading conditions.
The building not only houses state-of-the-art laboratories but offers a dynamic and inclusive environment that encourages cross-disciplinary collaboration among students. This collaborative space serves as a platform for students to work together and apply their knowledge and skills to tackle real-world challenges and develop innovative solutions.
Gold Winner – Archframe Design Awards 2023
Design Firm – dwp Australia Pty Ltd
Project Title – USQ Springfield Expansion of F Block
Project Category – Educational
Status – Built
Architect – Scott Chapple
Design Team – Scott Chapple, Genevieve Hoeben
Profile – Professional Architect
Country – Australia