Situated on the picturesque shores of Sydney Harbour in New South Wales, Australia, Taronga Zoo is home to over 4,000 animals from more than 350 species. Over its 100 year history, Taronga Zoo has seen a lot of change and development. The Zoo has a strong commitment to conservation, scientific research, and education. To help shape a future for wildlife and people, the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning was commissioned to be a living laboratory for scientific investigation and conservation education; built to empower the scientists and conservationists of tomorrow.
As the first of its kind in the Southern hemisphere, the world-class institute was designed to bring science and learning together through immersive habitat classrooms and purpose-built laboratories. Alongside that, the institute would also house a grand lecture theatre, large open atrium, boardroom, and offices. Acoustic consideration to reduce echo and reverberation within these spaces were very important components of this project.With the build site set on a rolling hill, the shape and design of the building was to follow the form of the land rather than disrupt it. The structure would be truly unique in shape, both externally and internally. Inspired by nature and patterns found in DNA structures, the initial concept and detailed design for this project was conceived by Architect Ewan Saunders of NBRSARCHITECTURE, and brought to life by Associate James Kim of BKA Architecture and Taylor Construction.Two areas within the new institute requiring bespoke acoustic solutions were the auditorium and atrium. Two dynamic acoustic ceiling baffle systems were designed using the Autex Frontier™ system to reflect the natural forms of animals and plant life. Looking over the initial design concepts, the Autex design team ascertained early on that there would be some tricky details requiring bespoke product and purpose-made fastenings and hangers. Autex collaborated with BKA Architecture, Taylor Construction, and Auzoom Projects Pty Ltd to ensure details were resolved at the onset of the project, and continued working closely with all parties throughout the construction phase.