The form of the four-level building fits in with the gently sloping site that is surrounded by other buildings such as the Bio 21 David Pennington Building on the Parkville campus of the University of Melbourne. The new building has landscaped external courtyards and a tapered brick base that uncurls to two-storey height.

The 4,500sqm building is a state-of-the-art facility with laboratories, offices and research areas, however, collaboration was the main focus for the project.Tapering volume features and timber planters are features on its southern edge, fronting meeting rooms, terraces and stepped seating. The northern side hosts the brick base which forms a series of window seat nooks.

“It’s about this idea of wellbeing and improving outcomes through the creation of a series of spaces where researchers can collaborate. We want the researchers to have a choice of settings in which to work and we want to improve their experience outside of the lab too,” said Christon Batey-Smith, DesignInc Director.

The interconnected spaces, vertical circulation and visual connectivity makes it appealing and encourages researchers to interact with each other. There is also flexibility in how they can choose to work – in a group or by themselves. The building’s design supports forward thinking and acknowledges that research doesn’t only happen in a lab.

Beginning in 2004 with the design of the David Pennington Building, DesignInc was able to continue their collaboration with the Bio Institute through the Nancy Millis Building, which is a part of the University’s 2008 masterplan.

The facility has achieved a targeted education 5 Star Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia.