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Wilson Architects

Wilson Architects

Brisbane, AU

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James Cook University, Cairns Innovation Centre

By wilsonarch
Nov 8, '18 9:33 PM EST
© Wilson Architects
© Wilson Architects

Wilson Architects + Clarke & Prince Architects win bid to design new Innovation Centre

James Cook University (JCU) has selected Wilson Architects and Clarke & Prince Architects to design their new $30M Cairns Innovation Centre (CIC).

JCU Vice Chancellor Professor Sandra Harding said the Centre will foster a culture of entrepreneurship.

“The Cairns Innovation Centre will tap into JCU’s and the region’s tropical knowledge and expertise. It will catalyse and accelerate the translation of research and new business ideas into products and services that are in high demand in the Far North and beyond,” Professor Harding says. 

“It will be a place where business people, entrepreneurs, community organisations, researchers, educators and students can work and learn from each other.” 

Wilson Architects Director Hamilton Wilson says the project will drive economic growth and diversity in Cairns, and attract innovators from around the globe to the city.

“We’re excited to collaborate with JCU on this groundbreaking project,” Wilson says.

“The CIC will serve as an innovation centre to translate research, ideas and ambition into products and processes with real commercial application.” 

The design of the building itself, as you’d expect, is highly innovative. Wilson Architects and Clarke & Prince Architects used origami as a metaphor for the transformation of ideas and developed a building form that abstractly references this craft.

“Innovation often begins with an idea, and needs people and process to further develop it to successful create an elegant solution,” Wilson says. 

“Likewise, origami is an art form that takes the prosaic (a simple piece of paper) and transforms it into something beautiful.”

At night, the building turns into a digital moving graphic, as the façade takes on projected images and colours that can easily be seen from the nearby highway.

The project is expected to reach completion by late 2019.