Road to the Victorian Architecture Awards 2018: NH Architecture's Hamish Lyon

Road to the Victorian Architecture Awards 2018: NH Architecture's Hamish Lyon
Road to the Victorian Architecture Awards 2018: NH Architecture's Hamish Lyon

In today's piece as part of's Road to the Victorian Architecture Awards series, in the lead up to the awards dinner on Friday 29th June, we speak to Hamish Lyon, Director of Architecture and Design at NH Architecture. Leading the design direction of the firm, Hamish is an advocate for architecture, regularly engaging in public debate.

Hamish and the NH Architecture team have worked on the Monash Business School redevelopment, shortlisted in the educational architecture category at this year’s Victorian Architecture Awards. Giving us an insight into the project which brings the corporate environment into the classroom, he also shares his perspective on architecture in Melbourne more broadly.

Road to the Victorian Architecture Awards 2018: NH Architecture's Hamish Lyon
NH Architecture's Monash Business School redevelopment. Image: Peter Bennetts How did you tailor this project specifically for business students? 

Hamish Lyon: Designed exclusively for postgraduate and executive business students the project transcends the traditional stereotype of cellular learning and delivers a high quality environment which bridges the gap between executive-level education and a corporate environment.

Planning and design acknowledged the necessity to transform spaces from a teaching lead environment to one appropriate for executive style events requiring high-quality presentations, function facilities and corporate hospitality.

U: What challenges did the existing building pose?

HL: The new Monash Business School project is a combination of a three-level fit-out of an existing 1990s speculative office building coupled with a small addition of new work.

The specification and environmental performance criteria of the original building was extremely poor, offering little opportunity to achieve many of the now accepted initiatives of sustainable design. Despite these limitations, the school consciously fulfilled the requirements for a high performing education space with enhanced acoustic façade treatment, lighting and building services.

U: Where do you see the trend moving forward for educational architecture?

HL: In reaching out to the global community the Business School acknowledged the expectations of the local and international market, placing emphasis on the student staff experience and connecting corporate industry with education, mixing and blending private with public.

The demand on space will continue to ensure buildings will extend beyond their traditional hours of operation providing facilities for aligned industries outside the core business of education.

An attitude of “one size does not fit all” means the relationship between program and space has become more challenging.

U: The Monash Business School redevelopment bridges the gap between executive-level education and the corporate environment. What elements of both the education and corporate spheres were integral in your design?

HL: The traditional segregated office style floor plates were transformed with the introduction of two interconnecting stairs: one within the existing building structure and the other in the new adjoining Pavilion, built on the existing external terrace and housing a state of the art auditorium and function facility.

The distinct Pavilion visible from both Dandenong Road and the local train station is an asset for both the Business School and the broader University community; for corporate and dignitary functions throughout the year. Providing a flexible and accessible reception and student staff lounge area adjacent to the pavilion offer a public area for an expanded conferencing and function facility available to the wider corporate community.

Road to the Victorian Architecture Awards 2018: NH Architecture's Hamish Lyon
The interior of the Monash Business School redevelopment. Image: Peter Bennetts

U: You have worked on some high profile Melbourne projects including Margaret Court Arena and QV. What elements of ‘Melbourne’ do you strive to embody in your projects?

HL: Our approach to design has been formed by the city in which we reside. Melbourne’s high quality of public amenity underwrites the moniker of “world’s most liveable city”.

In its built form the city has many lessons to teach and as a practice we actively research its public spaces, institutions and businesses to understand its particular vibe – we see it as a world-class laboratory of buildings and space.

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir

Laurence Dragomir is one of the co-founders of Urban Melbourne. Laurence has developed a wealth of knowledge and experience working in both the private and public sector specialising in architecture, urban design and planning. He also has a keen interest in the built environment, cities and Star Wars.

Victorian Architecture Awards 2018 NH Architecture Hamish Lyon


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