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National Biocontainment Laboratory 
& Offices, Wallaceville





Wallceville, New Zealand






Ministry of Primary Industries



Dennis Chippindale



The multi-purpose building is a place of reception and collaboration for the National Centre for Biosecurity and Infectious Diseases as well as the larger scientific community. The building contains a formal reception area, café, administration offices and multi-purpose rooms for meetings, seminars and functions. 

The project was awarded a Green Star - Five rating for office design due to its simple yet environmentally sound design and construction - a first for a Government developed building in NZ. Working within a tight site and an equally tight budget, this rating was achieved by adhering to the principles of ‘passive solar design’.


The building, surrounded largely by trees, rises up on one side to collect as much sunlight as possible. This, combined with natural ventilation and high levels of insulation throughout, has removed the need for expensive climate control systems. Designers chose building materials for their environmental sustainability as well as quality. The use of timber throughout also reflects both the setting and the client’s close association with NZ’s forestry industry. 

The Green Star application’s computer simulation of energy use showed the building consumed just 39 kilowatt hours per square metre per year (a third of the Green Star benchmark), proving that sustainable design can be achieved without costing the earth. 

  • Green Good Design Award: Green Architecture, The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design (2012)

  • Sustainable Architecture Award from the New Zealand Institute of Architects Awards (Local)

  • Silver Design Award Built Environment, Designers Institute of New Zealand’s Best Design Awards (2010)

  • Sustainable System Award in the Resene Total Colour Awards

  • Highly Commended: Commercial Architectural Excellence, New Zealand Wood Timber Design Awards (2010)

  • Winner of Sustainability in the New Zealand Wood Timber Design Awards

  • Award of Com­mend­a­tion in Energy Efficiency in the EECA IESANZ Lighting Design Awards

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