Life Sciences Precinct

Melbourne University’s System Garden is the oldest botanical garden 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.

Client

University of Melbourne

Location

Melbourne, Australia

Status

Completed

Year

2019

Scale

11,500sqm

Collaborators

NDY, IrwinConsult, Arup, Semaphore, McKenzie, AECOM

Design team

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

Photographer

Earl Carter

  • 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 facade – featuring a series of coloured, textured fins and sunshades that convey the building’s purpose – link all the spaces in one cohesive whole.

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

Duncan Maskell University of Melbourne Vice-Chancellor

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