Precinct Concept Design

The Precinct design team, led by principal architects, Lyons Architecture, have now completed the Precinct concept design.

Concept design is the early stage of the design process which outlines the function and form the new Precinct will take. Extensive collaboration with students through co-creation has informed this process to ensure the needs and expectations of its users were integrated into the design.

Key strategies for the Precinct realised through the concept design include:

Landscape and Ecology

The existing landscapes will be reconciled to create a consistent experience and flow throughout the Precinct site and link with the broader University creating a conduit from the city to the new heart of the University. This cohesive landscape will retain and celebrate the unique Parkville Campus character of laneways and courtyards while increasing accessibility; creating gardens that connect students with nature and support diverse micro-climates and ecologies; reduce heat; and provide shade and shelter. Wherever possible, the Precinct will incorporate plants and greenery to ensure maximum tree canopy coverage.

Reinstating the original watercourse will enable the University to utilise and reuse the site's natural resources through collection and storage of water run-off, reducing peak pressure on the surrounding water catchments and improving sustainable water usage. This will also enable the continued migration of native eels, whose annual migration path is believed to run under the Precinct site, through the implementation of sensitive water management and design strategies.

Illistrative masterplan showing the possible layout of the Precinct site and landscapes
Design diagrams exploring options for flexible landscape spaces with integrated and maximised greening.

Three main ‘arrival landscapes’ will be developed to provide students with places to occupy, activate and pause before entering the central Precinct landscape. Each of these ‘arrival landscapes’ will be designed to provide their own distinctive experiences and amenities, opening views and vistas into the Precinct's centre.

Concept design rendering showing landscape accross amitheatre looking towards the new Student Pavilion Building
Concept for a new landscape for the outdoor amphitheatre looking towards the new Student Pavilion Building

A Reconciled Ground-Plane Resulting in Student Facilities and Improved Wayfinding

The design of landscapes, courts and laneways that extend into and through the existing buildings will create a seamless pedestrian flow, drawing visitors into the centre of the Precinct, creating links to the Carlton Connect Initiative, the future Parkville Rail Station and the broader Parkville Campus.This will be emphasised by lowering the ground-plane to its natural level improving DDA accessibility across the site.

Lowering the ground plane will reveal the fa├žade of the Frank Tate Building, which is re-imagined as a ‘market hall’ for student use, and open space for an outdoor amphitheatre providing increased programmable and informal space for student activation's, study, socialisation and relaxation.

Concept design rendering showing a possible view of the revealed facade of the Frank Tate Building across the new outdoor amphitheatre
A possible view of the revealed facade of the Frank Tate Building across the new outdoor amphitheatre.

A ‘gateway entry’ from Swanston Street designed to provide a clear pedestrian ‘desire line’ (an informal pedestrian path often used as a short cut between two points), will make the centre of the precinct more visible as an entry way to the Parkville campus and allow students to participate in activities occurring at the centre of the Precinct, or bypass major events held within the amphitheatre. Another entry point will be created through the new Student Pavilion Building, replacing the Alice Hoy Building on Monash Road. The Student Pavilion will invite people into the Precinct from Monash Road and create a more accessible and inviting interface by aligning the raised ground plane of Monash Road with the Lower ground-plane of the Student Precinct.

The ground level of the Eastern Resource Centre (ERC) is conceived as a series of landscape study terraces, naturally drawing students from the south into the Precinct centre. A seamless transition through the ground level of the Doug McDonell Building will be created to expand the learning landscape.

Reconciliation and Honouring History

Indigenous Reconciliation is a major focus of the Project as the development of the Precinct provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to celebrate and recognise our Indigenous students, staff and communities on a precinct-wide scale. The Project will incorporate Indigenous knowledge in all aspects of the design, from landscape to spaces within each building and particularly in the design of the Melbourne Institute for Indigenous Development, Murrup Barak’s new home on Grattan Street.

It is envisioned that Murrup Barak’s presence will be amplified by the proposed location, prominently visible from Grattan Street at the Gate 8 entrance, and by creating an annex structure that acts as a safe and private extension of the building.  The new annex will follow the alignment of the former water course and eel migration path, supporting recognition of this important cultural element in the University’s history. Murrup Barak’s new home will face onto a new native landscape, providing an important link for the institute to the natural landscape and acting as a visible statement on the University’s commitment  to reconciliation.

Design concept rendering showing the view of the new Murrup Barak Building and Gate 8 landscape from Grattan Street
Concept view of the new Murrup Barak Building and Gate 8 entry landscape from Grattan Street

The new Precinct will reside on the site of the former Royal Melbourne Teacher’s College. Reworking the existing building fabric and adjusting the landscape levels will seek to ‘stitch’ these two historically separate campuses together, integrating the two long-associated institutions. Telling the stories of the site over time and carefully considering the creative reuse of existing buildings to ensure they continue to add the greatest benefit back into the future life of the University and the Precinct will ensure the history, heritage and culture of the site are honoured appropriately.

The next stage of the Project will be schematic design. In this stage, the Design Team will undertake detailed discussions with users and further develop the concept design into a clearly defined design to determine floor plans and facilities. The stage is scheduled to be completed by the end of September 2018.

See more renderings and concept design images in our gallery