A Lyons masterclass

Mark BaljakJune 26, 20130 min read

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.

  A Lyons masterclass

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.

A Lyons masterclass

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.

A Lyons masterclass

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. 

Mark Baljak

Mark Baljak was a co-founder of Urban.com.au. He passed away on Thursday 8th of November 2018 after a battle with cancer. He was 37. Mark was a keen traveller, having visited all six permanently-inhabited continents and had a love of craft beer. One of his biggest passions was observing the change that has occurred in Melbourne over the past two decades. In that time he built an enormous library of photos, all taken by him, which tracked the progress of construction on building sites from across metropolitan Melbourne.
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