Client:
Menzies School of Health Research
Location:
Darwin, Northern Territory
Features:
Flexible teaching spaces, conference facilities, clinical areas, offices, external working and teaching spaces.
Awards:
AIA NT Award for Best Public Architecture - 2015
AIA NT Award for Best Interior Architecture - 2015

The Menzies School of Health Research at Charles Darwin University comprises a new 2,700 building adjacent to the university Library and the Chinese Garden. Placed on a main circulation axis between the student residential village and the main campus, the building spans this route with a double height entry foyer that encourages students to pass through the building.

The building shares the same architectural language as the new Menzies building at Royal Darwin Hospital, and portrays a clear identity for Menzies. Landscaping was carefully integrated with the design of the building to create usable outdoor teaching and learning spaces and gives new relevance to the existing Chinese Garden by creating a new connection into the garden from the entry court.

The open, light and colourful building has deep roof eaves that provide welcome shade around the building and are lined with Tiwi battens that create patterns of dappled light across the façades. The use of light and shade, combined with natural materials and building scale are designed to reassure visitors and create a sense of welcome. The design incorporates an innovative approach to thermal comfort and tropical design, with high ceilings and low turbulence ceiling fans throughout allowing excellent occupant comfort at higher air temperatures. Promoting gentle air movement, the fans operate at low speed and provide high air flow for cooling with low turbulence and minimal wind noise.