The Queensland Brain Institute’s seven-storey research facility is purpose-built for neuroscience, including many innovative solutions to enhance scientific discovery and interaction. Designed by John Wardle and Associates and Wilson Architects, and built by Watpac, the $63 million project was completed on schedule and to budget, and was officially opened in November 2007.
The building was designed to accommodate 250 researchers and state-of-the-art research equipment. The QBI building was modelled on the theme of A Theatre for Research, with informal interaction spaces opening to the imposing four-storey foyer on one side and to the research laboratories on the other. Overlaid on the large foyer window into the laboratories is artwork entitled Out of Mind by Adelaide-based artist Fiona Hall. This work, which was especially commissioned by UQ, comprises a large digital print image that interprets QBI research activities. Communal hubs and informal meeting spaces are the settings for discussion and exchanging of ideas. QBI staff and visitors come together on Level 7, which includes a 200-seat auditorium, 40-seat seminar room and interaction areas that can accommodate 300 people.
Research spaces have been designed for maximum flexibility; they can be configured to support molecular biology, tissue culture, electrophysiology and even robotics. Each of the four research floors has a core facility positioned with direct access to the main research labs and external access for affiliate researchers. These core facilities are flow cytometry (Level 6), advanced microscopy (Level 5), histochemistry (Level 4) and cognitive testing (Level 3). Another feature of the building is a dedicated specific pathogen-free animal facility on Level 2, which includes surgery and behavioural testing suites.
QBI’s key technological infrastructure includes the following: