The challenge of the design was to adaptively re-use the building envelope to integrate the new brief requirements. The fitout comprises of the following:
- up to 11 laboratories (some of which are PC2 compliant),
- post graduate office areas,
- lecture theatre
- publically accessible atrium and conference exhibition space.
The design intent for this adaptation was to clearly distinguish the old from the new through distinct material choices and detailing, whilst maintaining the integrity of the original structure. A contemporary "vestibule tube" acts as the linking device between the east and west entries of the building.
Blackbutt timber linings and details were selected for the vestibule tube and other detailing elements as a distinct material choice for the fitout for the following reasons:
- The selection of timber has a conceptual link to the building's function and testing matter, given that the inherent nature of the building is to test Climate Change effects on natural plant matter, such as trees and plants.
- The use of timber, especially on the 4 thermal chimney stacks was used to illustrate the distinct ways in which timber can be used creatively to have an impact on sustainable design initiatives within the fitout of an existing building.
- Timber linings and design elements were selected to conceptually link to the existing timber gable roof structure and existing timber windows.
- Timber batten detailing and timber handrail was used as a linking material to contrast between the new hard surfaces of steel, tile and glass and the brick skin of the existing building fabric.
- The 44 x 32mm timber battens, in association with scrimcloth backing were incorporated into wall and ceiling linings as an acoustic control, to absorb direct sound in both the public areas and the lecture theatre.