JCU Daintree Rainforest Observatory

The JCU Daintree Rainforest Observatory is conceived to be an environmentally sensitive research facility consisting of labs, conference facilities for 100 people, flexible covered outdoor spaces and various accommodation options for 56 staff, researchers and education groups. Designed with the tropical climate at the forefront of the decision making process, the DRO provides a world-class research environment for James Cook University. The focus of the whole project is on the rainforest, from the hands-on research experience to the tropical built form which tempers the environment and stimulates the occupants whilst embodying the nature of the rainforest. CA Architects have responded to the brief and the remote “off-grid” rainforest location by creating a suite of self-contained pods with semi-enclosed link spaces which respond to and interact with the tropical environment without the need for air-conditioning. Each space was carefully crafted to closely fit its function simply and efficiently, eliminating wasted construction and providing just the right amount of light, ventilation and space. The resulting form embeds you in the natural surrounds and creates the peaceful ambiance the university desired. The materials and colours used were inspired by a combination of the Queensland vernacular and the colours of the rainforest.

  • Date :  2011
  • Responsible Staff : Gisela Jung, Tony Girbau
  • Reference : Name: Rachel Argent
    Position: Division of Facilities Management
    Phone / email: 0457 521 078
  • Construction Cost: $4m

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