Contreras Earl Architecture, an Australian company, has revealed its designs for the world’s first coral conservation facility. It is planned to be constructed at the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef in Port Douglas, North Queensland, Australia and aims to “secure the long-term future and biodiversity of corals worldwide which are under severe threat due to climate change”. The Living Coral Biobank is dedicated to the future of coral reefs worldwide and with leading engineering and sustainability consultants Arup and Werner Sobek for the Great Barrier Reef Legacy, it will be the first facility of its kind. The facility will be focused on taking care of 800 species of the world’s hard corals with next-generation renewable energy design, creating optimal conditions for coral storage while minimizing energy consumption and solar gain.
Spread out across four stories and roughly 73,500 square feet, the building, organized around a soaring central atrium, will feature several exhibition spaces, classrooms, aquarium displays, research laboratories, a 200-person event venue, and auditorium in addition to the main glass-enclosed conservation facility where the collected coral species will be nurtured in a number of “wet specimen lab” tanks. While this area of the biobank proper is off-limits to the general public, it is viewable from a glass-encased second-level observation platform accessible via the building’s circular entry plaza. The species collected at the biobank will be potentially used to help rehabilitate and rebuild coral reefs across the world that have been decimated by climate change.
The Living Coral Biobank complements existing practical efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and reduce regional pressures on coral reefs from land-based and water-based activities. It complements and value-adds to global research and restoration efforts, including activities to rehabilitate habitats and help corals to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.