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This dynamic and international global research hub takes on a greater public role.

This institute brings together key scientific researchers from various leading institutions to collaborate on the Antarctic and Southern Oceans.

Located on Hobart’s heritage listed waterfront, aligned to the water’s edge and following the rhythm and scale of traditional wharf buildings, our central idea is putting the science into the shed.

Requiring carefully controlled laboratory environments as well as a series of offices and collaborative spaces, this building’s iconic shed-like form provides a simple contextually appropriate backdrop.

Placed directly onto the raw concrete edge of the cove floor, with close proximity to the water and passerby, this building has a strong public role. Continuing the almost rudimentary language of the wharf vernacular, it has been sliced open on the western edge to reveal the inner workings of the program and research activity.

As well as a series of three collaborative strands – laboratories, meetings and central and more informal collaboration zone - this building has an exhibition space and publicly accessible theatre.

A traditionally internal organisation opens up to its public domain.

  • Traditional Custodians The Muwinina people
  • Collaborators Wardle in association with Terroir
  • Client University of Tasmania
  • Location Hobart, Tasmania
  • Procurement Expression of Interest
  • Project Duration 2009 – 2013
  • Floor Area 7,500m2
  • Environmental rating 5 Star Design rating assessed by the Green Star Education tool (V1)
  • Selected Awards
  • National Award for Public Architecture, AIA Tasmania 2014
  • Alan C Walker Award for Public Architecture, AIA Tasmania 2014
  • Alexander North Award for Interior Architecture, AIA Tasmania 2014
  • Award for Urban Design, AIA Tasmania 2014

Ice covers 98% of Antarctica, and 90% of the ocean is wholly devoid of light. IMAS researchers seek to illuminate these opaque worlds, and the near-transparent IMAS building reflects this ambition. Bright, superbly functional, and collaborative on the inside, anything but black-box from the outside, the iconic structure invites anyone to press nose against the glass or enter the public space to view first-hand what marine and Antarctic researchers do and how.

Professor Mike Coffin, Executive Director, IMAS


Meticulously finished and detailed, not only is the building a quiet triumph (this is not a building that shouts about itself; it simply occupies its site as if it belonged there), it also has the potential to do just what a hotel, or any other commercial development, could not: it reaffirms the civic character of the space of the cove and, in doing so, also reaffirms the civic character of the university. The latter is an especially important achievement.

Jeff Malpas – ‘Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies’, Architecture Australia Sept/Oct 2014, pp 44-51



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