Colleges of Science

Colleges of Science

“Research is changing so fast, focusing as much on the space between disciplines as within disciplines, and this remaking of ANU’s science precinct and its architecture creates an environment for collaboration, for connecting big ideas together, and creating a pathway for students to become the researchers of tomorrow.”

Carey Lyon, Director of Lyons

Our innovative design solutions for the Australian National University’s (ANU) College of Science directly inform processes and working methodologies to support researchers, teachers and students in their pursuits of knowledge. This project, no small feat in both design and logistics, creates a major new science precinct at the heart of the Australian National University’s campus, bringing together four schools into a contemporary and integrated research and learning environment. The project consists of three new buildings and a number of refurbishments, including a new Biosciences research building, a Science Teaching building, a Central Plant facility, and the refurbishment of the Hancock West building. The buildings have been designed to meet the University’s needs for contemporary research and learning, including new paradigms in interdisciplinary and collaborative research, and student centered teaching and learning.


  • Sector

    Research Buildings

  • Key Lyons contacts

    Carey Lyon
    Adam Pustola

  • Client

    Australian National University

  • Location

    Peter Baume Building, The Australian National University, 42 Linnaeus Way, Canberra ACT 2601

  • Traditional land

    Located on the traditional lands of the Ngunawal people

  • Size

    Biosciences building 13,500 square metres
    Teaching building 8,400 square metres
    Central Plant 800 square metres
    Hancock West 1,600 square metres
    Chemistry Sciences building 5,700 square metres

  • Project status

    Complete, 2013


with landscape


the Campus


2014 Australian Institute of Architects - ACT Chapter
    • Public Architecture Award – Colleges of Science – Chemistry Sciences Building
    • Urban Design Commendation
2012 Awards
    • World Architecture Awards, Shortlisted Entry, Colleges of Science, Australian National University
  • 2012 Australian Institute of Architects - ACT Chapter
    • Institutional Commendation, Colleges of Science, Australian National University

“Lyons have an excellent approach to developing a thorough understanding of the operation of a complex research facility with multiple stakeholders, to produce a quality design result.”

Jonathan de Puit, Hindmarsh ACT Projects Director (2010)

“There’s such an incredibly renowned culture of research at ANU. Through making scientific ideas more visible to the campus, visually connecting workspaces to labs, and offering spaces for closer collaboration, we sought to support leading researchers and the next generation of innovators.”

Adam Pustola, Principal at Lyons

Transforming working methods

Our design for ANU’s Colleges of Science enables meaningful connections for researchers, students and teachers, both physically on campus and figuratively in practice. Our innovative solutions for research and work spaces establish the ANU Colleges of Science amongst the best facilities in the world. Located at the centre of ANU, the Biosciences research building brings together two previous disparate research schools into a single integrated, collaborative environment. The two laboratory wings of the building contain high performance and flexible laboratory environments that can be adapted for changing research needs. With the workstations and laboratories designed as a continuous environment, scientists’ work areas are placed in the closest possible proximity to their laboratories.



The BioScience and Chemical Sciences Projects operate as the pinnacle of interconnection within the ANU College of Science. The three-level Chemical Sciences building contains generic wet laboratories and bespoke laboratories for Physical Chemistry and Biochemistry. The layout closely couples laboratories, support spaces and write-up areas, and visually links research at the bench and at the desk. A modular layout allows research groups to be clustered as research projects form and adapt.

Advanced learning spaces

Our design facilitates a unique experience for students, placing them alongside researchers in a thriving social university environment. The Biosciences research building is rich with student spaces such as a drop-in centre where students can be mentored by research academics, or self organise into learning groups. An ‘X’ shape stair at the centre of the building enables interactions between the research students and staff on the lower levels. Conceptually derived from the ‘X’ chromosome, the stair is embedded with social space, seating areas and a small communal kitchen.


Similarly, the Teaching Building places students at the centre of its design, making it a benchmark for innovative learning spaces. The design features large scale laboratories with a capacity to teach 160 students within a single space. Integral with the labs are a series of breakout areas, that allow student groups to move seamlessly between practical activities and other group learning activities. The teaching building also incorporates innovative new learning spaces such as a Lectorial – a hybrid between a lecture theatre and tutorial space.

Connecting the campus through shared architectural language

Critical to the success of this project is its design contribution to the campus itself. The design speaks to the open and interconnected nature of the campus, adding contemporary new buildings while preserving and enhancing outdoor spaces. Each discipline has a distinct identity but is also connected to neighbouring buildings by a shared architectural language and consistency of materials. Central to the design is the integration of the buildings with both existing and new landscape environments. Informed by scientific imagery, the architectural design makes the inner workings of the buildings public. The precinct design responds to key ‘desire lines’ throughout the campus, while the landscape areas include enclosed courtyards within the buildings for use by researchers, as well as shared spaces for student use and learning activities.

Key Contacts

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