17 December 2004

The recently completed Building 8 at The University of Queensland Ipswich Campus has won a national award for its innovative structural use of timber.

In a joint submission by Wilson Architects and Arup, the Building 8 project was announced as the winner of the Public and Commercial Buildings category in the Australian Timber Design Awards, announced at a recent ceremony in Melbourne.

Building 8 was conceived by Wilson Architects as a place for interaction between people and the printed and digital technologies, with supporting student resources.

Arup worked with Wilson Architects to realise the design vision including a soaring timber diagrid that creates a dramatic meeting space. The diagrid is made of glue-laminated beams supported by slender timber columns, which rise from the garden along side Kauri Pines inclined towards the spine of the roof.

The light which floods through the tensile membrane stretched above a timber grid, silhouettes the timber beams and provides the amenity and mood of daylight deep into the heart of the Building.

The building was designed by Wilson Architects to represent a “village market square”.

It houses the Library, the Student Centre, Health Services, The Equity Office, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Unit, the Student Union, learning advisers, counsellors, the disability adviser, Chaplaincy, welfare officer and the Office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor.

Hamilton Wilson from Wilson Architects said Building 8 reinforced the community hub of the existing campus and was “a place to interact with people and the printed and digital media, student services, counselling and health services.”

“The facility is in fact three buildings interconnected with a two-storey high landscaped space that symbolically stitches the variety of spaces together,” Mr Wilson said.

The external form and materials of the building are a response to the adjacent heritage listed brick buildings while the establishment of a large internal garden reinforces the building’s focus and circulation paths, creates a legibility of the various parts and improves the air quality, unequalled for a building with such intensive use of electrical equipment.