ACT News


Inventive technology in mint condition

Staff at Canberra's newest cultural institution have had plenty of boxes to unwrap this month. But the parcels haven't been of the Christmas variety.

Questacon this month officially took possession of the former administration building at the Royal Australian Mint in Deakin.

More than 80 staff moved into the building earlier this month and have spent recent weeks busily preparing the Questacon Technology Learning Centre for a 2013 grand opening.

The new centre replaces the offices in Fyshwick and will be complementary to Questacon's main premises in Parkes.

The science institution hopes the new educational hub will inspire young Australians to invent and innovate by showing off the design process.

Questacon learning experience manager Allen Rooney said innovation, technology and the maker movement were inspirations for the new premises.


He said the QTLC would expand Questacon's ability to engage with Australians.

"We're targeting a secondary audience. It's an audience the centre in Parkes doesn't traditionally focus on," Mr Rooney said.

He said the QTLC wanted to aid the backlash against the modern day "disposable society".

"We're aiming to give all our visitors a taste of the creative experience and the satisfaction of making or designing something.

"If visitors go away and want a screwdriver set or tool kit then we're winning."

As well as calling one of the most prominent buildings in Canberra home, the QTLC also boasts 2800 square metres of floor space - a 750 sq m increase on the Fyshwick facility.

The heritage building will house a public exhibition area, activity spaces, Questacon manufacturing workshops, office accommodation and storage.

Visitors entering the building will step into a public exhibition space, where the innovation-manufacturing process will be modelled. The ground floor will also house an activities area, where students will get a hands-on introduction to manufacturing, and Questacon workshops, where the institution constructs its displays.

The first floor will be taken up by office space and accommodate those Questacon staff involved in the national outreach programs.

The area will be designed as an open, creative environment to encourage maximum inspiration and exchange of ideas.