Questacon Technology and Learning Centre
Engaging a new generation of Australian innovators
The brief: to build a new national science centre to positively impact the future of innovation in Australia by increasing engagement among secondary school students in science, technology and innovation.
In September 1980, Questacon began as a project of the Australian National University (ANU), in an unused space at the Ainslie Public School in Canberra. It opened with 15 exhibits and was staffed entirely by volunteers. Despite a modest beginning, by the mid-1980s Questacon had achieved national and international recognition.
In the years since much in the world of technology and innovation has changed. Questacon needed a new home to deliver on its mandate to inspire young people to pursue careers in science and technology by engaging students in hands-on experiences that build skills and challenge negative perceptions of science, technology and manufacturing.
Questacon engaged Built and e2 to design and construct the Questacon Technology Learning Centre (QTLC), a combination of an experience centre and staff accommodation housed within a heritage listed, former Mint administration building.
The design solution is explored through a combination of honest, simple and intuitive detailing that confirms QTLC’s approach. Exposed joints, screws and rivets create visitor intrigue through visual representation. The uses of approachable and sustainable materials frame the specific locations throughout the centre for interactivity and participation.
The entire building is a hub for creativity; QTLC’s staff have connectivity to all aspects from brainstorming in the prototyping room to building/designing exhibitions, and guiding students through day tours and activities.
Today Questacon is Australia’s largest science centre and is among the world’s leading science centres.