Contributors

Architecture: Blueprint Architects

Construction: Rohrig Group

Joinery: Corona Cabinets

Photography: Scott Burrows Photography

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June 2024 / Commercial

A state-of-the-art Science Centre that will stand the test of time

Ormiston College, is a prestigious College located in Brisbane which recently tasked the team at Blueprint Architects and Rohrig Group with updating the science centre. Replacing the original science buildings Rohrig Group constructed in 1991, the brief was to modernise their science facilities with a world-class facility that seamlessly merged design and functionality.

 

“I helped to deliver the first project for Ormiston College, back in 1991, so it was a real pleasure to be welcomed back to modernise the facilities at the school,” said Rohrig Senior Construction Manager, Robert Nott.

 

“While our original work has stood the test of time and provided an inspiring learning environment for generations of students, it is an honour to return and take the school into the future.”

Wilsonart Chemsurf Compact Laminate Frosty White Custom Tabletops.

 

The future-focused Science centre sees unique molecule-themed hexagonal features across the facade, retaining walls, landscaping, seating and acoustic ceiling tiles. These features were carried through into the cutting-edge science building, innovative laboratories, chemical storage facilities, classrooms, office and amenities.

 

The result is a cohesive, high-performing space which will engage students and drives innovation for many years to come.

Wilsonart Chemsurf Compact Laminate Frosty White Custom Tabletops.

The Design Objectives:

  1. Innovation and Flexibility: The project aimed to create a space that encourages innovation and flexibility. This involves designing adaptable and durable laboratories and classrooms that can accommodate various teaching methods and technological advancements.
  2. Engagement and Interaction: The goal was to foster student engagement and interaction within the learning environment. This includes incorporating collaborative spaces and interactive elements to promote hands-on learning experiences and foster creativity.
  3. Integration and Functionality: Ensuring safety, functionality and overall usability were key objectives of the project. This includes everything from table heights, to spacing between students, as well as lighting to ensure shadows were not cast across desk spaces. Integrating surfaces and materials that are suitable for high-traffic areas and withstand harsh chemicals was imperative to ensure the spaces performed over the lifetime of the building.
 
 

By focusing on these design objectives, the Ormiston College Science Centre project aimed to deliver a modern, functional, and engaging learning space that supports innovation and academic excellence.

 

Wilsonart Chemsurf Compact Laminate Frosty White Custom Tabletops.

 

The Design Approach:

Emphasis was placed on selecting materials that were not only durable and visually appealing but also met the practical requirements. When pulling together a colour palette, the goal was to inspire and energise students, blending calming tones with invigorating accents to support concentration, inspiration and energy. The key was to strike a balance between calming neutrals, stimulating hues and natural elements to foster a conducive learning atmosphere that aligns with the schools visual identity.

“A cellular theme was taken through the building as a design thread to reinforce all facets of science, integrating cellular hexagonal components to ground and ceiling planes. The laboratory aesthetic provides a modern, clinical tertiary learning experience, within a well established and expansive landscaped campus,” he said.

 

For the table tops and joinery, the surface material needed to resist the harshest of acids, bases and solvents that would be used by students and teachers alike in the classrooms and laboratories. Wilsonart Chemsurf Compact Laminate is suitable for both horizontal and vertical applications and, due to its thickness and strength, does not require a substrate. Available in a choice of two thicknesses and four colours, Wilsonart Chemsurf Compact Laminate incorporates Protector layers on the facia-side – adding incredible scuff, scratch and impact resistance to its chemical environment credentials.

 

The 3660 x 1525mm sheets are available in two thicknesses: 12.7mm with the décor on both sides making it ideal for shelving, countertops or vertical applications and 16m with the décor on top side only and black underside, ideal for countertops and benches.

 

Across the project, it was specified for the custom tabletops, designed with ergonomics in mind to ensure that the custom workstations were the right height and there was enough spacing between students.

 

Wilsonart Chemsurf Compact Laminate Frosty White Work Station Benchtop & Joinery.

 

The Outcome

Specifically designed for high-traffic environments where chemicals and harsh cleaners are used, Wilsonart Chemsurf Protector Compact Laminate provides exceptional Chemical resistance and durability, without sacrificing design. The range includes 10 solid neutrals and colours that can be used in commercial projects to blend seamlessly into palettes, or create bold, energising contrasts.
A sophisticated, refined colour palette of soft, neutral tones was carefully chosen to foster a modern and focused environment. Shades of warm greys and crisp whites create a calming backdrop that promotes concentration without overwhelming students with visual distractions. These subtle hues are complemented by accents of rich navy’s and blues, infusing the space with a sense of freshness while also tying into Ormiston College’s visual identity.

High-performing Wilsonart Chemsurf Protector Compact Laminate in Frosty White was specified to for the desktops and joinery across the project, blending seamlessly into the joinery and furniture, allowing for a cohesive palette and sense of continuity across the joinery in the centre.

While design and aesthetics was front of mind, the importance of efficiencies in the fabrication process and reducing wastage is also an important consideration in the design process. Using the 3660 x 1525mm sheets for the desktops and 3660 x 1530mm for cabinetry applications allowed for almost zero waste, saving up to 100 sqm of off-cuts and wastage. Selecting this material offered a comprehensive solution that is not only durable and visually appealing but also cost-effective and environmentally friendly.

Wilsonart Chemsurf Compact Laminate Frosty White Work Station Benchtop & Joinery.

 

The custom tabletops and workstation tops were fabricated in irregular shapes, tying together the hexagonal components throughout the other external and internal spaces.


The overall effect is a harmonious blend of modern aesthetics and functional simplicity, offering an engaging and energising atmosphere conducive to learning and creativity.

 

 

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