6 Star rating for Taronga Institute of Science and Learning

Published: Tuesday 16 April 2019

Taronga Zoo's vision is one of conservation of the environment and protection of the animals with an underpinning philosophy for education and scientific discovery. The NSW Chapter’s second visit for 2019 explored the Zoo's new Taronga Institute of Science and Learning. 

In consultation with the stakeholders and supprting the Institute's mission, NBRS Architecture’s vision was to design and build a global benchmark for conservation innovation.

In doing so, the end product is a magnificent: a 6 Green Star rated facility with specialist laboratories, flexible classrooms, and meeting spaces that allow for collaboration, cooperation and the further development of partnerships with leading universities and scientific organisations.

To achieve the 6 Green Star rating the Institutes building design and construction are assessed on sustainability outcomes across nine holistic impact categories.

On average, Green Star buildings are said to produce:
•    62% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than average Australian buildings
•    consume 51% less potable water than minimum industry standards
•    recycle at least 96% of the construction and demolition waste.

This level of certification is awarded to Australia's leading and most innovative ecotourism products that operate with minimal impact on the environment and provide educational opportunities for their visitors. 

Organisations with this certification are committed to achieving best practice, using resources wisely, helping local communities and contributing to conservation of the environment.

Furthermore, this facility has been designed around the concept of three hubs: Learning, Science and Research, and Visitor.

Seminar rooms are bright, sleek and engaging and the ideal setting for up to 30 senior students, while Taronga’s research scientists work in glass-walled laboratories nearby. The science labs are varied in their nature and offer spaces for research and investigation.

With flexible room arrangements and high-end multimedia facilities, these collaborative spaces allow learners to connect with current sustainability and conservation initiatives.

The habitat classrooms attract over 1400 students per week. It is an attractive learning environment for the students, and the LEA delegates were also delighted with these spaces.

These classrooms combine cutting edge technology and animal exhibits, giving students a unique opportunity to interact with wildlife. The classrooms are themed around three iconic habitats – a desert, rainforest and woodland environment.

In each room, the animals move freely around the space and are conditioned to display natural behaviours.

These environments provide an authentic learning experience by placing students into the animal’s natural habitat, aiming to inspire students to participate in science and become conservation champions for the future.

A highly recommended facility for all local and interstate visitors in the future.

Article: Cecely McGeachie

Photos: Daniel Smith