Life Sciences Building

The University of Melbourne’s Life Sciences building is the prestigious university’s first cross-faculty, specialised learning and teaching facility.

The building, which brings together academics and staff from veterinary sciences, agricultural sciences, bioscience and medicine and health sciences, was opened in 2019 and achieved world-leading environmental and sustainable certification.

Once a back-of-house’ entrance to the university, the building complements and reflects its surroundings to provide a welcoming place for people to come together each day. 

Its curved shape also creates a strong connection to the concentric System Gardens – one of the oldest botanical gardens in the Southern Hemisphere and still being used by students over 160 years after it was first planted.

The layered façade is reminiscent of the glasshouse that originally sat at the centre of the gardens, while details like patterns on inside and exterior walls resemble what’s under the microscope and remind users what this place is all about. 

Inside, innovative laboratories and bespoke, collaborative classrooms feature monochrome, minimal detailing that puts the content of the lessons in focus. The informal study spaces rely on warm timber to create social community environments, culminating in the sweeping timber staircase. 

Together with our client, we designed the building to expand minds and spark discoveries – preparing students for more successful careers in a fast-changing world.


The University of Melbourne


Wurundjeri Country
Melbourne, Australia








NDY, IrwinConsult, Semaphore, AECOM

Design team

Mark Loughnan, Ben Duckworth, Sheree Proposch, Mark Roehrs, Mark Haycox, Michael Blancato, Jeroen Hagendoorn, Jacqui Low, Alex Sawicki, Daniel Yu, Adriano Denni, Marine Rouanet, Sandra Forko, Jinoh Son, Hui Hui Ngu, Anthony Thevenon, Jerome Delauney, Christel Lecheaux, Heidi Sinclair, Larisa Mos, Richen Jin, Stephen Tan, Nikolas Kourtis, Meredith Dufour, Mary Papaioannou, Yoshi Kashima


Earl Carter

I’m delighted that the building won this award [2020 Prix Versailles - Campus]. It’s testament to the creativity, expertise, quality workmanship, careful thought and general care and team work that characterised the project.”

John Fazakerley Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne now has an award winning building that is a delight in which to teach, learn and study.”

John Fazakerley Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne
  • The innovative environment is equipped to host multiple courses and to allow several classes to run simultaneously within the same area.
  • Stacked, rectangular spaces for formal learning are perched between the tree-lined Royal Parade and the System Garden.
  • Fluid and warmer casual areas form a seamless natural link between the garden and formal learning spaces.
  • The renewal of the Tin Alley / Royal Parade corner of the campus – with its own small café and casual gathering spots – extends the collaborative, ground-floor informal learning space.
  • A symbolically-rich façade – featuring a series of coloured, textured fins and sunshades that convey the building’s purpose – link all the spaces in one cohesive whole.
  • 2023 UNESCO Prix Versailles — World Title — Campus
  • 2020 UNESCO Prix Versailles — World Title — Campus

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