Monash School of Biological Science, Clayton, Naomi Milgrom Foundation Victoria Building
Monash School of Biological Science in Clayton
29 Sep 2021
Design: Kosloff Architecture
Location: Clayton 3800, Melbourne, Australia
Photos by Derek Swalwell
Monash School of Biological Science
The Monash School of Biological Science project embraces our environmental responsibility to adapt existing building stock and in doing so addresses the question of what it means to re-skin an existing 1960’s modernist building in a contemporary manner.
The project was undertaken as a collaboration between Kosloff Architecture, artist Callum Morton and Monash Art Projects (MAP). Norman Disney & Young (NDY), Wood and Grieve Engineers and Arup were also involved from conception until completion. Collectively, the focus was to deliver a building that performed exceptionally well environmentally, with upgraded services to future proof capability and an enduring outcome that contributed to the university’s public art strategy. Nineteen other specialist consultants also contributed.
Located on Innovation Walk, the existing building sits alongside several other modernist buildings of the same era, as well as more contemporary additions. Conceived as a ‘curtain’, the new façade hangs from above and is lifted at various points along the ground plane to allow a glimpse behind of an array of custom coloured glazed bricks at the pedestrian level.
Entry into the building is through a portal designed in collaboration with the artist Callum Morton. Curving in two directions, it draws on the artefacts of scientific research processes to provide passage to a ground floor gallery showcasing part of the extensive Monash University art collection. The building houses the biology and psychology faculties including a variety of spaces including a lecture theatre, classrooms, laboratories, offices and administration facilities, all of which remained in use throughout the re-skinning process.
The building and its surrounds remained fully operational throughout construction and none of the occupants were decanted during the façade replacement works. Ongoing scientific experiments with plants and animals continued uninterrupted.
A construction sequencing and installation methodology was devised to enable the entire existing facade (brick and windows) to remain in place while the new facade was constructed over. It was only at completion, that the existing windows and walls were demolished from the inside to reveal a new, high performing façade.
Feasibility reports undertaken prior to commencement, estimated that a new equivalent building would cost significantly more compared to the façade replacement. Avoiding the cost of decanting, relocation and disruption of ongoing science experiments alone saved the university close to $2.0M.
Baselining of the existing building’s environmental performance was completed prior to commencement and repeated at the end of each design phase to track improvement. The final outcome was a new façade that performed significantly better than BCA Section J 2017, greater than 40% improvement at controlling solar gain than the original, and a reduction in cooling demand by more than 20%.
This project began in response to the deterioration of the existing 1960’s brick façade. While the commission was for this building, our team were interested in developing a strategy that could be applied across many similar campus buildings.
This evolved into a strategy for public art integration, significant improvement of the performance of the building skin, and future-proofing the entire building through upgrading its services infrastructure.
Monash School of Biological Science in Clayton, Melbourne – Building Information
Project size: 11000 sqm
Site size: 11000
Completion date: 2018
Building levels: 9
Photography: Derek Swalwell
Monash School of Biological Science, Clayton images / information received 290921 from Kosloff Architecture
Location: Clayton 3800, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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