A Lyons masterclass

How appropriate that architecture firm Lyons have received recognition during the 2013 Victorian Architecture Awards for two of their most recent projects. One would assume it's no coincidence that Lyons have been, and continue to be so prolific in designing unique buildings for a host of Melbourne's tertiary educational bodies owing to their unique, colourful and at times obscure style.

Completed late last year, the Swanston Academic Building (below) for RMIT scored a gong in the Public Architecture (New) Awards category, hosted by the Victorian chapter of the Australian Institute of  Architects. Given its prime position toward the northern end of Swanston Street, it certainly captures the eye.


Early 2013 heralded the completion of another Lyons academic gem, the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS) building at the Bundoora campus. No less impressive, but holding an inconspicuous position amongst aged brown-brick buildings on university grounds, the multi-purpose facility received a Public Architecture (New) Commendation during the recent awards night.

Quoting Archdaily, the facility "Will meet the University’s long-term needs in terms of student learning and research in the science disciplines. Lyons were appointed following a design competition sponsored by the Australian Institute of Architects. An integral part of the brief was for the project to have a ‘transformative’ effect in terms of the architecture and identity of the campus, which had previously been built within the strict guidelines for materials and heights." For a comprehensive overview of LIMS, visit archdaily.com's article.

Two additional Lyons-designed research-education facilities are also currently under construction in Melbourne's outer suburbs. Lend Lease have taken control of a site at Monash University's Clayton campus with the task of delivering the Green Chemical Future building seen below left. According to Monash, the facility "Will be a benchmark, 9,500m2multi-level design facility .. achieving a 5-star Green Star Design and As-Built rating. It will support the academic and industrial research within the chemicals sector in Australia and will provide world-class research to expand Australia's 'green workforce'. Green Chemical Futures will house over 100 chemists and engineers and will allow the growth of basic science research to targeted industry driven research. It will have 17 specialist sectors, training programmes for industry practitioners and new laboratory spaces available for over 1000 students and 100 industry partners."

At La Trobe University's Bundoora Campus, a large blue tower crane commissioned by Kane Constructions is well advanced in delivering the Melbourne Building Project (below right). The $32 million six level teaching facility will encompass 7,500sqm of floor area when complete, whilst also carrying a 5-star Green Star design rating under the Education v1 rating system.

Yet the star of today's article is the stupendously good New Horizons building, also at Monash University's Clayton campus. A joint Monash University - CSIRO research and teaching facility, the $150 million complex was funded by the aforementioned two along with capital input from the Federal Government. New Horizons is "The first research building of its magnitude and energy density in Australia to achieve a  6 Green Star – Education Design rating." For detailed information on New Horizons, visit Monash University's page here.

The project teams consist of the following firms

Lyons Architects                                              Johnstaff Projects

Probuild Construction                                    Bonacci

Irwinconsut                                                       Umow Lai

Donald Cant Watts Corke                              Rimmington & Associates

Rather than wax lyrical about the virtues of Lyons' New Horizons building, I'll allow the photo set below to do the talking. 

New Horizons southern entry point

1 comment

Chris Peska's picture

Lyons certainly think "outside the box" in more ways than one. I love how they provide visual interest and connectivity with their design.

Observe. Design. Build. Live.

Back to top

Development & Planning

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 00:00
City of Port Phillip will this week indicate that it has sufficient reason to object to two pending projects in Port Melbourne. 17 Rocklea Drive and 365-391 Plummer Street are both within the Wirraway Precinct of Fishermans Bend, and both projects are under the authority of the Minister for Planning.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.

Transport & Design

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 12:00
When a site spans 19,280 square metres, it becomes a 'district'. That's the case according to the development team behind the Jam Factory's pending overhaul. Reporting on the project to date has focused on the close to 60,000 square metres of new commercial space that is earmarked for the site, but more importantly from a layperson's perspective is the extensive new public realm that is planned as part of the development.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.