Hassell has completed a new life sciences precinct at the University of Melbourne’s Parkville campus that brings together the university’s veterinary and agricultural science, medicine, dentistry and health sciences, and science departments together in a single facility.
Announced in 2017, the building has been designed to reflect the theme of bioscience throughout. A “symbolically rich façade” features a series of coloured and textured fins and sunshades. Inside, a “welcoming, nature-based design” incorporates timber-lined walls and a sweeping timber staircase that works to connect the informal areas.
Stacked, rectangular spaces for formal learning are located between the tree-lined Royal Parade and the circular geometry of the System Garden, a culturally and scientifically important landscape dating back to the university’s foundation in 1856.
Mark Loughnan, Hassell principal and project design director, said, “The System Garden is an important element of the site, so its premise and geometry is reinforced with the built form engaging and blending the interior and exterior spaces.”
Fluid, casual areas will form a “seamless natural link” between the garden and formal learning spaces.
A collaborative ground floor informal learning space with its own café extends into the adjacent revitalized Tin Alley/Royal Parade corner of the campus.
The building is the latest in a flurry of new buildings and developments commissioned by the University of Melbourne in recent years, including Arts West by ARM Architecture and Architectus (2016), The Melbourne School of Design by John Wardle Architects and NADAAA (2014) and The Doherty Institute by Grimshaw in collaboration with Billard Leece Partnership (2013). Elsewhere, at the opposite end of the campus, the university is redeveloping its student precinct, designed by a consortium led by Lyons Architecture, and the Carlton Connect innovation precinct by Woods Bagot and Hayball.
John Fazakerley, dean of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, said, “The new Life Sciences Building provides the University with a warm, lively, supportive and innovative environment for teaching and learning in the biosciences, an enhanced student experience and an additional facility to support and grow its already strong international standing.”