VCCC a triumph of design

The best part of a year from completion and the new Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) is beginning to show why it looms as one of, if not the most important building to be delivered in Melbourne since Federation Square. The $1.27 billion project located on the highly visible Haymarket roundabout holds prime position within Melbourne's medical and research precinct.

What makes the VCCC impressive even this far from completion is its spectacular exterior. Hospitals by their nature are inward-looking institutions; what happens internally is exponentially more important that how the actual building expresses itself to its surrounds. This is evidenced by recent equivalent large-scale or current hospital builds around Melbourne such as Austin Hospital, Box Hill Hospital, The Royal Women's Hospital and Monash Childrens.

All four examples are externally functional/austere without being altogether much more. Even the recent Royal Children's Hospital with it's excellent frontage to Flemington Road is dominated by precast to its remaining elevations.

The north east aspect prior to the final exterior application

This is not the case for the VCCC. From every aspect the building is highly expressive while carrying splashes of McBride Charles Ryan's trademark purple. Flowing lines define the exterior as does the depth of colour and detail; most of which has yet to be applied and will appear as an elongated white ribbon over parts of the building.

It's quite apparent that the parties involved in the design and delivery of the VCCC have made a conscious and concerted effort to produce a facility with both form and function; a statement building for its time.

The new design is to be symbolic and representative of the bringing together of the project partners, of the creation of new networks and clusters of collaboration. The building will have an imagery that is expressive of optimism and progress.

It will be instantly recognisable, both locally and internationally.

Plenary Group
VCCC's interface with the existing medical precinct

VCCC Project highlights

  • Client: Victorian Government
  • Builder: Grocon/PCL Joint Venture
  • Architects: STHDI + MCR – a partnership of Silver Thomas Hanley and DesignInc with McBride Charles Ryan
  • 13 level 120,000sqm facility
  • ​Royal Melbourne Hospital 12,000sqm extension and refurbishment

The project will deliver:

  • 160 overnight inpatient cancer beds
  • 42-bed capacity intensive care unit
  • 110 same day beds
  • Dedicated clinical trials unit with 24 treatment places
  • 25,000sqm of research space
  • 8 operating theatres and two procedure rooms
  • 8 radiation therapy bunkers
  • Education and training facilities (a 250 and 60 person lecture theatre plus 47 seminar/meeting rooms throughout).
The view from the top. Image courtesy Ryan Seychell

As for the interiors, VCCC is on target for a mid 2016 completion. Dominated by a large internal atrium casting natural light to all areas, the central void is a key element of the design which projects partners say will immeasurably enhance the internal environment of the centre.

While the atrium and other interior design features are something to look forward to, see below a set of images taken in recent days covering all external perspectives the VCCC has to offer.

VCCC - Flemington Road


troy's picture

Spectacular design.

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Rohan Storey's picture

The news keeps saying that there's possibly alucabond cladding here, but all I can see is glass, precast masonry, fibre reinforced cast concrete; so where is it ? The underside of the bridges ??


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Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

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

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:00
Infrastructure Victoria unveiled a new round of research into its larger programme of work dealing with managing transport demand. The authority contracted Arup and KPMG to produce the Melbourne Activity Based Model (MABM) and while it is new, it is considered fit for purpose in the strategic context.

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.