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The University of Wollongong Electron Microscopy Centre

The centre forms the centerpiece of a collection of research buildings by Jacobs known as the Australian Institute for Innovative Materials.

The University of Wollongong Electron Microscopy Centre

Accessed via a naturally ventilated glass link between two large pre-cast research buildings, this delicate timber structure houses some of the country’s most powerful microscopes.

Any continuous structural elements in the vicinity are non-ferrous as the microscopes are highly sensitive to electromagnetic interference. The cladding of the microscopy building is an expression of the fundamentals of non-ferrous construction. The ground floor of the semi-public transition space is composed of shades of polished concrete in geometric patterns that continue into the landscape.

The first-floor bridge link is a continuous path of bright red linoleum winding its way through the glass link structure, creating a zone for social interaction, accidental meetings and setting the tone for a collaborative academic environment. The serious nature of research aided by electron microscopes housed in airtight acoustic chambers without natural light contrasts with the bright day-lit interior of the link.

The project won the 2011 People's Choice Award at the Australian Timber Design Awards for Outstanding Timber Design.