A mix of classic and contemporary UQ will be on display at this year’s Brisbane Open House event on Saturday 12 October.
The annual festival, which is celebrating 10 years in Brisbane in 2019, showcases the unique architecture and design of more than 100 homes, offices, religious sites, historic structures and even bridges across the River City.
This year, the University is throwing open the doors to the iconic Parnell, Steele and Goddard sandstone buildings, as well as the dynamic new UQ Innovate makerspace on level 1 of the Mansergh Shaw building, between 9am and 1pm.
A partnership with Cox Architects, the bright and modern UQ Innovate facility encourages students and staff to chat and collaborate, making use of its digital design spaces and modern technologies such as 3D printing.
Some of the work by the UQ Racing team will be on show during Brisbane Open House.
"The addition of UQ Innovate this year showcases exciting new technologies that current and future students will use to shape/design their future built environment."
School of Architecture head Professor Cameron Bruhn is proud UQ contributes to this important global initiative.
“The UQ buildings program provides a rare glimpse inside some of our more historic buildings, while the addition of UQ Innovate this year showcases exciting new technologies that current and future students will use to shape/design their future built environment,” he said.
Biologist Dr Gurion Ang will lead guided tours of his home base, the Goddard Building, which was completed after the Second World War and named after UQ’s second professor of biology, Ernest James Goddard.
He said visitors would be able to see the School of Biological Sciences’ state of the art teaching facilities, including laboratories, as well as its 60-seat Physical Containment Level 2 lab.
“PC2 laboratories allow our students to work with genetically modified organisms under controlled conditions, and ours is the largest PC2 undergraduate teaching facility in the Southern Hemisphere,” Dr Ang said.
“Visitors will immerse in the excellent teaching infrastructure for undergraduate and postgraduate studies in ecology, zoology, genetics, and conservation science, which are the hallmarks of teaching and research expertise in the School of Biological Sciences.”
Dr Ang said visitors could also register for the free Marine Science Experience Day on Saturday 12 October between 12.30pm and 4.30pm, giving participants an authentic “day-in-the-life” experience including a hands-on lab experiment and lecture on shark conservation.
The Parnell Building will no doubt attract scores of visitors to its famous foyer installation – the Pitch Drop experiment.
Set up in 1927 by the eponymous Professor Thomas Parnell to show how the seemingly solid material flowed like liquid under pressure, the 10th drop is currently forming and expected to drop sometime in the 2020s.
Current custodian Professor Andrew White said it was credited as the longest-running laboratory experiment in the world, but that is technically untrue.
“An experiment is carried out under controlled conditions, and the pitch drop is the exact opposite of that,” he said.
“It’s been stored in different places, been exposed to different temperatures, and been under fluro lights, halogen and now LEDs, all of which have affected the rate of the drops.
“It’s an observation, but a wonderful one that connects people to deep time. The rate of the pitch movement is far slower than Australia’s continental drift, and yet every day you’ll find people staring at it.”
The Physics professor said nobody had ever witnessed a clean drop, not even in 2014 when there were multiple web cams trained on the slow-moving material.
“The last two drops hit the previous ones in the receiving beaker, and so took a while to break off,” he said.
This led to Professor White making a controversial change to the experiment by replacing the beaker. He even had to source an authentic vintage one with imperial measurements to fit properly.
“People ask me when it will drop next, and the answer is I genuinely don’t know. I hope it’s before the 100th anniversary in 2027, but whenever it happens, we’ll be recording to ensure we all see a clean drop,” he said.
“I think Parnell would be wryly amused we’re still watching his experiment – and there’s enough pitch still in the funnel to ensure we will be for another 50 to 80 years.”
Visit the Brisbane Open House website to learn more about the festival.