Updated 19 March 2020: The format has changed to an online webinar via the Research Zoom Room: https://uqz.zoom.us/j/5446144196.

Presenter: Professor Sandra Kaji-O'Grady

In 1985, the new Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL) in East Geelong opened after decades of lobbying, debate, and bureaucratic caution. Its realization was a landmark achievement for Australian engineers, scientists and architects, not least amongst them, UQ alumni Bill Curnow, then architect for the CSIRO. One of just a dozen comparable facilities in the world dedicated to animal disease research, research is conducted there on new infectious diseases that threaten the health of animals and the agricultural industry. Human health is also at stake for 70% of emerging diseases are, like the coronaviruses 2019-nCoV, MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV, zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and humans. To construct the AAHL today would cost over $1.2 billion—a large sum, yet a small proportion of the estimated losses of an outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease to the economy. Considered one of the world’s best biocontainment facilities, the AAHL is, sadly, absent from national architectural histories. This oversight and the marked contrast between the AAHL’s fortress-like appearance and the extroverted laboratory buildings studied in my previous research with Chris L. Smith, prompted a recently submitted Discovery Grant application to the ARC, with Chris and Lydia Kallipoliti. Our aim is to discover more about how and why biocontainment architecture has changed since the 1950s and how the architectural expression of biosafety responds to and shapes changing views about science. This talk will describe the process of developing the grant application, and introduce some of the world’s past, current and future BSL4 animal health laboratories.


Image: AAHL in Geelong in 2007 is from Wikipedia Commons, courtesy of the CSIRO.

About 2020 research webinar series

The School of Architecture presents the 2020 Research Webinar Series.


School of Architecture
Research Zoom Room: https://uqz.zoom.us/j/5446144196