University of Melbourne, Biosciences Building

Designed by Hassell, the University of Melbourne Biosciences building is an example of biophilic design at its finest. As the architect stated, ‘Good design is about helping clients meet their needs and objectives. It is also about the way people feel when they experience it, a sense of meaning, connection and belonging’.

The new building was a $100 million upgrade to combine the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Science, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Services and the Faculty of Science in the one space. The brief for this design was to create a world class facility that will support the next generation of leaders in the biosciences.

To coincide with one of Hassell’s philosophies to ‘continuously improve environmental performance and energy efficiencies as well as create healthier working environments’, the building demonstrates an accurate representation of sustainable design and the connection of nature to increase productivity.

Blackbutt was originally specified for this project but was revised to a mixture of Australian Oak, Goodwood Victorian Ash and Iron Ash after a number of technical requirements were realised. “Given the curvature of the central stair and interior walls, Victorian Ash was selected as it is, in general, a more dimensionally stable species and therefore was more likely to provide a successful and enduring finish to meet the architectural intent,” explained Alexander Sawicki at Hassell.

Australian Sustainable Hardwoods (ASH) were invited to assist with connecting a team of varying manufacturers from within their supply chain to Kane Constructions, the main contractor, with the intent to create a seamless look using varying trades. This is often a hard task to complete but the result in this case is a stunning project of consistency, meeting required Green Star ratings and desirability.

Australian Oak engineered flooring was used for the high traffic areas because it is coated with a hard wearing LED cured oil that will last even in high traffic conditions, as well as having the most cost effective maintenance offering available when time comes to re-coat in the future.

Design: Hassell

Photography: Stephen Wood