Taronga Institute: A New Global Centre of Excellence
The first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning will be a global centre of excellence for conservation science and learning at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo. With strong connections to the wider Zoo, the Institute will transform Taronga’s capability to undertake leading research that informs policy development around wildlife management and conservation.
NBRSARCHITECTURE’s vision for the Institute was to create a direct and tangible link between science and learning. Passion and excitement for wildlife and conservation permeates through the building spaces and detail. By housing a world class Research Hub alongside a Learning Hub and a Visitor Hub, Taronga can engage and inspire future generations to become champions for wildlife.
Over three levels, the design centres around a vibrant atrium space that seamlessly links the building’s functions and provides a key orientation point. The off-form concrete and timber tiered seating engages with the Science Hub and leads to a mid-level Collaboration Hub. This space has been designed to promote cross-pollination of ideas between scientists, educationalists and animal carers.
Facilities include immersive habitat learning spaces themed around rainforest, arid and woodland habitats; multi-disciplinary research and teaching laboratories that provide opportunities to see conservation science in action; digital teaching labs; and cyroreserve. External wildlife encounter spaces provide enhanced education opportunities and allow for real interaction between visitors and animals.
The site sits on the hill overlooking the Zoo and Sydney Harbour beyond. Natural materiality ensures minimal visual impact and creates a harmonious relationship between the built form and the Sydney sandstone environment. Inspiration was taken from the patterns found in DNA structures to influence façade design and to reflect scientific research.
Andrew Duffin, Design Director at NBRS said: “The purpose-built facility has provided an agile, transparent and sustainable environment that creates tangible links between theory and practice. The facility is a living example of conservation by achieving a 6 Star Green Star rating.”
NBRS worked closely with the Taronga Conservation Society from initial concept though to detailed design. After award of the building contract, Taylor Construction and BKA Architecture successfully progressed the project through construction to delivery.