A design concept that uses glass to reinforce openness and transparency has won the competition to design the proposed Sustainable Futures Building at the St Lucia campus of the University of Queensland (UQ).

To be designed by Lyons and M3architecture, the University of Queensland Sustainable Futures Building will house the School of Chemical Engineering, with the project expected to strengthen the School’s profile as a hub of chemical engineering leadership in Australia, the Asia Pacific region, and the global stage.

Featuring a distinctive glass skin, the architects suggest the design concept aims to create a physical environment that reinforces the School’s distinctive strengths of being outwardly open and transparent, and inwardly intense and focused. The glass exterior is said to be "highly energy-efficient", while the energy intensive research areas will be offset by expanded renewable energy photovoltaics on the roof.

The design also continues the metamorphosis of the campus from sandstone to glass with the evolution attributed to advances in technology involving the work of chemical engineers, amongst others.

Open connecting stairs, shared collaborative spaces, and blurred and overlapping boundaries between learning, research and industry, are the hallmarks of the project. The design is also a reflection of the School’s culture, which is based on open and collaborative relationships between students, teachers, researchers and the wider industry.

Image: A render of UQ’s Sustainable Futures Building