Life Sciences Building

The University of Melbourne’s System Garden is one of the oldest botanical gardens in the Southern Hemisphere, and students still use it to learn 160 years after it was first planted. 

It’s now the tranquil setting for the university’s first shared teaching and learning facility for the life sciences, including medical, health and veterinary training.

The new building turns what was once a back-of-house’ entrance to the university into a beautiful, vibrant place where people come together each day. We designed this building to nestle within, complement and reflect its surroundings, with a curved shape that’s inspired by the concentric layout of the historic gardens. 

The spaces within provide the perfect backdrop for new ways of teaching and learning – and greater innovation. Details like patterns on the wall that resemble what’s under the microscope remind users what this place is all about. 

A sweeping timber staircase brings students from the different sciences together as they move around the building. There are places for working together and taking time out as well as technical and clinical areas for concentrated learning and practical investigations.

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


Melbourne, Australia









Design team

Mark Loughnan, Ben Duckworth, Sheree Proposch, Mark Roehrs, Mark Haycox, Michael Blancato, Jeroen Hagendoorn, Jacqui Low, Alex Sawicki, Daniel Yu, Ed Mitchell, 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


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The building design, architecture and the resources available to students and lecturers are first class.”

Duncan Maskell University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor
  • 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.


The @unimelb will prepare the next generation of doctors, scientists, and vets within the new HASSELL-designed life sciences precinct. The design pays homage to the culturally and scientifically important landscape of the historic grounds, which dates back to the university’s founding in 1856. Photography: @earlcarterstudio #unimelb #design #architecture #landscapearchitecture #melbourne #science #landscapearchitecturemonth #wlam2019



A warm, nature-based design that incorporates timber-lined walls and a sweeping timber staircase connecting the informal areas. The Life Sciences Precinct at @unimelb is now open, designed by HASSELL. Photography by @earlcarterstudio #architecture #interiors #landscapearchitecture #design #melbourne #UoM #stairs #universityofmelbourne


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