The Centre for Advanced Imaging (CAI) captures highly experimental molecular imaging technology and the necessary support resources within a single facility.
To realise the full potential of imaging as a research tool, the CAI provides a rich collaborative environment for researchers in disciplines ranging from engineering, synthetic and radiochemistry, physics and computer science to biology, medicine and psychology. This potent mix of researchers works on innovations in imaging technology, imaging biomarker development and in biomedical research disciplines.
The new CAI facility accommodates NMR (Nuclear magnetic resonance) and EPR (Electron paramagnetic resonance) alongside the complimentary use of MRI (Magnetic resonance imaging) and PET (Positron emission tomography) imaging technologies in association with a Cyclotron and supporting radiochemistry laboratories for research and commercial partnering. Traditionally, this type of facility is introverted in nature and protective of the complex machines within, exacerbated by the layers of structure necessary to provide a stable environment for experimentation free from vibration and magnetic interference. In contrast, the CAI is designed to include areas of interaction and collaboration across all levels, and concentrated at ground and the uppermost floors. The imaging technologies and equipment are made visible to the visitor and the collaborative open office spaces support and encourage interactions between researchers, both those within CAI and visiting researchers.
A key theme is the connection of the interior to the landscape beyond - a remnant heritage stand of eucalypts, as well as sporting fields. Terracing, ramping and garden beds step down from the interior to the natural ground line. A generous terrace at the uppermost floor provides great views out from the edge of campus from this communal space. Sunshading blades create a vertical rhythm across the main facade, an allusion to the original landscape.
Materially, the exterior envelope is either precast concrete in a sandstone hue that connects the building with its historic campus context, or a neutral charcoal metal panel that clothes the functions related to the technology within. The precast panels are carefully crafted, their profile attuned to keeping out the sun whilst their surface is inscribed with a pattern derived from imagery produced by the centre. The CAI is appropriately sited within the research precinct on the University of Queensland St Lucia Campus adjacent the Gehrmann and Ritchie Buildings and with nearby access to the adjacent Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) Building and the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN). A strong central link has been forged between the two adjacent buildings to form a new internal street between the campus interior and its outer edge. A highly transparent stair in the entry foyer of the CAI makes visible the movement of scientists and researchers, whilst its generous landings promote impromptu discussion. In these ways, connections are made clear and legible.