Griffith University Red Zones

  • 2016

  • Architectural
    Interior Design

Designed By:

  • Cox Rayner Architects

Commissioned By:

Griffith University

Designed In:


The Red Zones house a variety of interactive digital technologies and exhibits set against an entirely red ‘landscape’ that cocoons students and visitors in a dreamlike world. The extensive Griffith brand red theme and surreal lighting design combine to create a space that blurs and dematerialises.

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  • The Griffith Red Zones are designed to enable the Brisbane public to gain in one place instantaneous knowledge of what is happening in the university in a highly accessible and entertaining way. 'Public' includes school groups wanting to appreciate research activities and findings or learn about courses and their content. The same applies to students in certain facilities and schools who may want to learn about activities occurring in other schools and programs.

  • It is the allure of the almost exclusively red spaces that draws visitation, and the sense that in them is an experience like no other on the campuses. Once inside, the organic forms encourage the sense of movement from one experience to another, yet each experience is vastly different from another - such as body-activated music generators, surround touch screens, 3D printers and sandboxes. These create an atmosphere of sophisticated 'play' which imparts large amounts of knowledge in a short time, but also allows people choice in their pursuit of areas that interest them.

  • The design of the two Red Zones incorporates an extraordinary quantum of technologies including interactive, sound, lighting and touch. The design challenge was to present the technologies to not be intimidating and instead to be simple and alluring to use. Much of this challenge was met by integrating the technologies into as few elements as possible, avoiding clutter and congestion that might otherwise be alienating, this required bespoke design elements everywhere, an example being the 'stalagmite' ceiling funnels which house the lighting, the sound sources and the climate control.

  • All of the interactive elements in the Red Zones were custom-designed between ourselves as architects and the university's technologists. They were developed from scratch to tailor their formats to the kinds of knowledge and research that this university is excelling in. Examples include: • A River Catchment Simulator; • Kinected Music Interactive Library; • A Cultural Heritage Simulation (called Virtual Meanjin) which simulates Brisbane before British settlement; • Monitor of the Sir Samuel Griffith Centre's self-sustaining energy performance and its workings using solar hydrogen technology;

    • Interactive learning such as for teenagers to participate in mock investment strategies, and understand their processes and outcomes; • Interactive art enabling visitors to create their own digital art both static and dynamic, while also being informed about Griffith's artistic directions. These are only a few examples, but the design success of the Griffith Red Zones is the coalescing of the vast range of areas of possible interest to people within a unified and relaxed environment.