Contreras Earl Architecture has unveiled designs for the world’s first dedicated conservation facility, Living Coral Biobank in Port Douglas, Queensland, Australia.
Living Coral Biobank will be located at the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef in Port Douglas and is being developed in collaboration with the Great Barrier Reef Legacy.
The new building will be the only dedicated facility of its kind in the world, as well as a world-first in conservation and education of vital marine ecosystems.
The primary goal of the project, described as a ‘living ark’, is to keep alive and nurture more than 800 species of the world’s hard corals.
The building, set across 6,830 square metres, is designed by Contreras Earl Architecture, with leading engineering and sustainability consultants Arup and Werner Sobek.
Facility developed with Great Barrier Reef Legacy
Innovative design and engineering means that the conservation facility will be a world leader in next-generation renewable energy design.
It will create optimal conditions for coral storage, also minimising energy consumption and solar gain. The main user of the building will be the corals.
In addition, Living Coral Biobank will house exhibition areas, an auditorium, classrooms, and advanced research and laboratory facilities over four storeys.
Visitors will be able to observe live coral reefs in aquarium displays, while exhibitions and events will be curated to interpret and teach.
Exhibitions and live coral reefs at Biobank
The building’s sculptural form is inspired by the ‘mushroom’ coral, with the facade conceived as a series of organic undulating concrete fins.
The fins, which offer protection from adverse tropical conditions, twist and unfurl as they allow natural light and ventilation of the upper levels and provide solar shading.
Living Coral Biobank will be a place for hope, learning and wonder and is of significant importance for coral conservation and the community of Port Douglas.
Meanwhile, Florida Aquarium has become the first in the world to reproduce ridged cactus coral in human care, thanks to a team of scientists.
Images: Contreras Earl Architecture