Australian Grains Genebank

Location Horsham VIC
Project Completion 2014
Project Size 670m2

Project Description The Australian Grains Genebank (AGG) is a national seed storage bank recently completed by H2o architects, on the Wimmera plains at the edge of Horsham, for the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industry.

The AGG will provide secure storage for seed samples, accommodating up to 200,000 accessions. The building will also be used for processing seed and seed requests and will include a packaging and receiving area, freezers operating at -20 degrees Celsius, drying facilities, administration areas and a multipurpose educational foyer space to accommodate visiting groups. The facility will also allow Australia to operate and exchange with a network of similar seed banks that operates internationally.

An innovative double skin freezer design has an inner ‘esky’ box of insulated panels, contained within an outer timber clad weather protecting layer, both layers sandwiching and separated by a thermally stabilising air pillow. This design ensures that the freezers operate with less imposed load and reduce the energy consumption and operating costs of the facility. Efficiency is further achieved by a robust, efficient and environmentally responsible mechanical system, to service the freezer requirements of the facility.

The brief called for a building with a strong presence on the site and to deliver innovation in design, materials and technology. The external timber and brick cladding of the building and the growing landscaping blend the building into the wet lands and Wimmera plains surrounding this building that is essentially an ‘esky’ inside a timber box, used for storing seeds.