The Doherty Institute in Melbourne is at the forefront of research in infectious diseases and now it has opened its new facility to bring together, under one roof, working and research groups, units and experts. The building was designed by Grimshaw Architects in collaboration with Billard Leece Partnership and it was essential to ensure energy savings so that “Green Star” certification could be obtained from the Green Building Council Australia, as this is required for all new constructions on the university campus. Flexibility and adaptability are central to the interior layout, allowing the different units to maintain their own identities, while also opening up room for exchange and collaboration. The building also creates interior-exterior dynamics through glazed façades, including three where Okalux’s high performing Okawood was chosen. The cavity between the interior and exterior panes has a timber grid to provide sun screening.
This wooden grid serves as an effective, direction-selective sun and glare protection, reducing the temperature and the amount of light to comfortable levels, and leaving warm light to soak the interiors. The sections of the grid were placed at differing intervals in relation to the exposure of the building section.
The rounded façade corners presented a special challenge. Bent grids were expressly developed for this special installation to ensure a consistent design of the building shell. They were made with certified FSC birch wood, supporting the sustainable planning of the building.