Bio21 Institute

Redefining research and laboratory design, Bio21 takes the metaphor of the cell and its nucleus, as its architectural expression, interpreting it throughout so the form, literally follows function. Bringing together The University of Melbourne, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and The Royal Melbourne Hospital (Melbourne Health), it is one of Australia’s largest centres of research and commercial activity.

Two buildings of research laboratories, support and office spaces form the core of the centre, with all other components built, hung, passing through or linking into the laboratory blocks. Joining the buildings is a seven-storey, naturally ventilated atrium. Literally the heart of the centre, the atrium houses the main entry, reception and display area, and it is here that the cellular metaphor is most potently experienced.

Research scientists and their laboratories are celebrated through the visibility of spaces throughout the precinct. Creativity is encouraged through creation of opportunities for the collisions of scientific minds.

Stephen Webb, Design Director 113_stephen-webb.jpg

Stainless steel pods (support spaces of differing sizes), hang vertically in the atrium, bouncing daylight around the space, and connecting via bridges (like arteries) to laboratories and other areas, with timber screens along the bridges balancing the effect. A technologically sophisticated system of glazing and shading across all the facades, the atrium roof and throughout the interior illuminate the building beautifully, and celebrate (with transparency) its research activities.

In the circulation zones, a feeling of relaxed informality is created with fabrics, timber and ply providing an organic contrast to the gleaming metal surfaces.

Peter Hyatt, author and photographer

Site constraints dictated a south-east – north-west building orientation, requiring individual façade treatments to promote good passive solar design. A ‘family’ of related façades was designed to modulate the daylight, wind and glare in varying ways, with each façade responding specifically to its orientation.

The Flemington Road façade has macro and micro shade louvres for solar control in the laboratory zone, wired in tandem with screen-printed façade panels help control glare. On the north-east façade, deep cantilevered shades modulate the façade and shade the laboratories from mid morning onwards. The simple aluminium shade also acts as a maintenance gantry. The south-east and north-west atrium end walls are fully glazed with performance clear glazing to maximise daylight, with vertical blinds to the north-west for use when needed.

Anthony Quan

DirectorSydney

Anthony Quan

DirectorSydney
View profile

Christon Batey-Smith

DirectorMelbourne

Christon Batey-Smith

DirectorMelbourne
View profile

Richard Stafford

Managing DirectorAdelaide

Richard Stafford

Managing DirectorAdelaide
View profile

Ian Armstrong

DirectorSydney

Ian Armstrong

DirectorSydney
View profile

Rohan Wilson

DirectorMelbourne

Rohan Wilson

DirectorMelbourne
View profile

Richard Does

DirectorSydney

Richard Does

DirectorSydney
View profile

Stephen Webb

Design DirectorMelbourne

Stephen Webb

Design DirectorMelbourne
View profile

Sandeep Amin

Managing DirectorSydney

Sandeep Amin

Managing DirectorSydney
View profile

Ben Zoontjens

Associate DirectorAdelaide

Ben Zoontjens

Associate DirectorAdelaide
View profile

Daniel Walton

PrincipalPerth

Daniel Walton

PrincipalPerth
View profile

Adrian Doohan

Senior AssociateMelbourne

Adrian Doohan

Senior AssociateMelbourne
View profile

George Wong

PrincipalSydney

George Wong

PrincipalSydney
View profile

Sally Brincat

Senior AssociateMelbourne

Sally Brincat

Senior AssociateMelbourne
View profile

Cathryn Drew-Bredin

PrincipalSydney

Cathryn Drew-Bredin

PrincipalSydney
View profile

Garth Davies

PrincipalSydney

Garth Davies

PrincipalSydney
View profile

Darryl Suttie

Senior AssociateMelbourne

Darryl Suttie

Senior AssociateMelbourne
View profile

Mary Anne McGirr

PrincipalSydney

Mary Anne McGirr

PrincipalSydney
View profile

Heidi Lee

Associate Strategic ProjectsMelbourne

Heidi Lee

Associate Strategic ProjectsMelbourne
View profile

Jane Sayers

Associate, DesignMelbourne

Jane Sayers

Associate, DesignMelbourne
View profile

Ben Luppino

AssociateAdelaide

Ben Luppino

AssociateAdelaide
View profile

Cameron Smith

AssociateMelbourne

Cameron Smith

AssociateMelbourne
View profile

Cheryl Vandenberg

AssociateAdelaide

Cheryl Vandenberg

AssociateAdelaide
View profile

Craig Tonkin

AssociateAdelaide

Craig Tonkin

AssociateAdelaide
View profile

Jacqueline Urford

AssociateSydney

Jacqueline Urford

AssociateSydney
View profile

Kieran Leong

AssociateMelbourne

Kieran Leong

AssociateMelbourne
View profile

Maria Rigoli

AssociateSydney

Maria Rigoli

AssociateSydney
View profile

Megan Walker

AssociateSydney

Megan Walker

AssociateSydney
View profile

Michelle Harris

AssociateMelbourne

Michelle Harris

AssociateMelbourne
View profile

Peter Cove

AssociateAdelaide

Peter Cove

AssociateAdelaide
View profile

Peter Hardy

AssociateAdelaide

Peter Hardy

AssociateAdelaide
View profile

Sandor Duzs

AssociateSydney

Sandor Duzs

AssociateSydney
View profile

Sonya Montgomerie

AssociateMelbourne

Sonya Montgomerie

AssociateMelbourne
View profile

Stewart Bradley

AssociateSydney

Stewart Bradley

AssociateSydney
View profile