Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute

  • Turf-roofed structure follows the curve of the site and interacts with the surrounding wetlands, dunes and bay.
  • Located on a former landfill site adjacent to protected wetland.
  • Water strategies include extensive rainwater use and treatment of stormwater runoff.

Built on a former landfill site adjacent to a Ramsar-protected wetland, the DPI Queenscliff Centre is an environmentally 'intelligent' research, development and education centre that sets benchmarks for sustainable building design and reclamation of contaminated land.

The building responds to the seasons to create a comfortable internal environment. In a sense, it has been designed inside out – the concrete structure is exposed on the inside, absorbing heat in summer and naturally warming the interiors in winter, while timber cladding insulates from the outside.

The centre’s inclined walls operate as solar controllers. In winter (when the sun is low) the sunlight streams in, warming the building. In summer (when the sun is higher in the sky) the building is protected from overheating.

Operable windows allow warm air to escape in the evening and cool night air to circulate within the building. The concrete roof slab is covered in soil, grass and crushed rock, which also helps to insulate interior spaces.

Sustainable building materials were used where possible, including radially sawn timber for the façade.

Contaminated material from the landfill site has been contained and capped with clay to limit the infiltration of stormwater runoff. Dynamic compaction of the site meant that a raft footing could be used rather than piling through and disturbing the contaminated material.

After construction, Arup undertook regular monitoring of the facility to fine tune building systems and ensure that the occupants understood the fundamentals of the design.

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  • Queenscliff marine and freshwater resources institute, building exterior. Credit John Gollings Photography.Open gallery

    The building responds to the seasons to create a comfortable internal environment for occupants.

  • Queenscliff marine and freshwater resources institute, site and surrounding wetland area. Credit John Gollings Photography.Open gallery

    The project is located on a former landfill site adjacent to Ramsar-protected wetland.