The University of Melbourne – Veterinary School

  • area / size 94,937 sqft
  • Completed 2019
  • Location Melbourne, Australia,
  • Billard Leece Partnership was tasked with designing the learning facilities at the Veterinary School for The University of Melbourne in Melbourne, Australia.

    The University of Melbourne, Veterinary School provides world-class education for students and state-of-the-art facilities for practicing veterinarians by introducing the energy of the outdoors into all learning spaces.

    Blurring the lines between inside and outside, rural and suburban, the new campus encourages an agile and exciting learning experience.

    Designed as a “Sticky campus”, encouraging students to learn, live and socialize on site, taking advantage of shared amenities, the design responds to the challenges of online learning, and attracts international, rural and city students. Components of the Learning and Teaching Building (LTB) are open 24/7, enriching the campus lifestyle and providing spaces for professional development for practicing veterinarians.

    As the tallest built form, the LTB draws everyone towards and through the campus. The ground floor extends the social heart of the campus, improving connectivity to its landscape.

    A main staircase is a dynamic pathway of connected spaces from perches, nooks and ledges looking out to the surroundings while bridging all internal terrain. It is enveloped by perforated aluminum sun-shading, reducing the need for artificial light, flooded by sunlight during the day, and allows internal light to radiate out at night, attracting interaction through to the evening.

    In the library, bespoke glass displays house treasured collections like a jewelry box. Subdued lower lighting levels and zoning of furniture, softer carpet creates quieter conditions.

    In a natural garden setting, student lounges retain blockwork pillars and sustainable finishes are specified for longevity. Change rooms are reminiscent of homestead ‘boot rooms’; rustic and durable. Clinical skills labs follow the colours of the Vet-Hospital, linking the teaching environment with the working environment.

    The U-Vet Hospital features a new entrance and waiting area, consulting suites, intensive care and emergency wards, wards accommodating different species, working and learning spaces, and additional parking.

    Consulting with practicing veterinarians provided insight to reducing animal stress during wait time, a significant factor for a positive visit. Curved timber ‘pods’ in the waiting area minimize stress by averting a pets’ field of vision, providing separation and reducing fear.

    Delivery of the design for the complex project approached a challenging program and budget criteria which required monitoring. Integration of existing buildings provided options to add value through amalgamating building functions. Overall planning considers future expansion possibilities beyond this redevelopment. Internal and external design features are symbiotic, creating a seamless flow and allowing everyone access to the landscape required.

    Architect: Billard Leece Partnership
    Photography: Emily Bartlett