"It’s an amazing piece of bushfire resistant architecture"
Robyn Parker, NSW Minister for Environment and Heritage

Australian Plantbank

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The Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust
Cunningham Dr, Mount Annan NSW 2567, Australia
December 2010 - October 2013
Full Architectural Services

3,300m² GFA


State-of-the-art plant conservation and research facility that showcases the work of researchers to create a high level of visitor engagement.

The Australian PlantBank, located at the Australian Botanic Garden in Mount Annan, is a science and research facility of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust. It houses the Trust’s seedbank and research laboratories that specialise in native plant conservation. The facility is positioned globally as a symbol of preservation of the natural cycle from the germination of seed to the propagation of forests.
The building showcases the research carried out in the gardens, particularly the conservation of NSW plant species and regeneration of eco-systems, such as the adjoining threatened Cumberland Plain Woodland.

The seedbank includes long term cold room facilities for storage of seeds, a drying room, incubators and seed processing and testing laboratory facilities.

The interpretive function of PlantBank has indirectly influenced internal planning. The plan form allows views into the working sections of the building; from the entry through to the lobby, visitors can see researchers working within the laboratories. Beyond this they can view the incubators, cold storage facilities and the vault. The vault is the conceptual focus of the research, being the repository of seeds. The visitor heart of the building is the narrow lobby form at the junction of the research, workplace and information zones of the building.
The facility has a strong educational interest and includes conference facilities for use of staff, visiting academics and public.




Cunningham Dr, Mount Annan NSW 2567, Australia


RAIA National Award for Public Architecture
RAIA National Award for Sustainable Architecture
RAIA NSW Public Architecture Award
RAIA NSW Sustainable Architecture Award
WAF High Commendation for Research Buildings
The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects (AILA) National Cultural Heritage Award of Excellence
The Australian Institute of Landscape Architects NSW (AILA) Culture and Heritage Award

Brief Elements

  • Plant laboratory
  • Seed vault
  • Clean laboratory
  • DNA laboratory
  • Laminar Flow and Cryogenic store
  • Growth Room
  • Plant Physiology laboratory
  • Controlled Environment Room with large plant growth chambers
  • Microscopy and photography facility
  • Meeting rooms / offices
  • Library
  • Foyer


  • Visitors can watch scientists as they work with direct views into the working sections of the facility
  • Integrates education and research; teaching lab looks through windows directly into one of the building’s main labs
  • Building designed to allow for expansion in the future
  • World-class facility designed to attract international interest to help develop the research and conservation initiatives
  • Architectural approach is to create a new ‘place’ in the garden, that forms part of the visitor’s journey through the garden


Thinc Projects Australia
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Structural, Civil, Hydraulics, Acoustics, Fire Protection, Security Communications, Traffic, Electrical, ESD, Mechanical, Geotechnical
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Morris Goding Accessibility Consulting
Eco Logical Australia
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Blackett Maguire & Goldsmith
Hanimine Pty Ltd
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Hansen Yuncken
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Peace of Mind Technology
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X Squared
Interpretative Design