VISION Issue 50 - Page 10

VISION 50 — UNDER THE MICROSCOPE Any other influences? There is a focus on water life and the lake, so there’s a focus on the biology of the natural. The other consideration was that it’s like a big holiday house. The school needed space for waders, nets, gum boots and even a boat, so the lab adopted the role of looking like a holiday house with the storage underneath. You go to the beach, or natural environment, with your equipment and then come home to the deck, the back veranda, wash it out in the troughs and then study it in the lab. The lab touches the ground on the north side and floats above the site to the south where the sight-lines are very firmly directed towards the tree-tops. That beach house feel is there, it definitely avoids any monumentality. The building as a scientific device appears as separate top and bottom components joined by a continuous ribbon of glass framing views of the landscape in all directions from inside and views of activities within from outside. That cylindrical entrance makes this quite a processional experience to transition into and out of the building. It’s a small building with quite a large entry area that connects through to the reserve. You can walk through the eyepiece tube into the building, turn right at the laboratories or keep going and just a slight right turn out onto the deck. It’s actually a route through to the park as well as a laboratory entrance. “The building as a scientific device appears as separate top and bottom components joined by a continuous ribbon of glass framing views of the landscape in all directions...” PHILIP HARMER, ARCHITECT