Melbourne Brain Centre

Melbourne Brain Centre

“Our team worked closely with the…three key organisations to develop the design as a highly collaborative vessel for integrated research. Our proudest moment was when the three organisations merged operations following the opening of the building, as it demonstrated the power of architecture to unite people towards a great scientific endeavour.”

Neil Appleton, Director of Lyons

Much like the potential of the brain, the potential of a thoughtfully designed building is limitless. Embedded in our design for the Melbourne Brain Centre is the potential to enable world-class research into the brain. As Australia’s largest brain research facility, our design accommodates over 500 neuroscientists and two major research institutes in one collaborative endeavour. Organisationally complex, the project offers an elegant solution to bring together similar institutions united by their research. Conceptually we have designed a collective vessel that holds collaborative neuroscience research within. The building promotes connectivity, allowing researchers from multiple scientific disciplines to research and discover within arms reach of one another. The building is designed as a leader in its field with facilities built to support evolving research well into the future.

  • Sector

    Research Buildings

  • Key Lyons contacts

    Neil Appleton
    Corbett Lyon

  • Client

    The Melbourne Brain Centre (formerly the University of Melbourne, Florey Neuroscience Institute (FNI) and the Mental Health Research Institute (MHRI)

  • Location

    144/30 Royal Parade, Parkville VIC 3052

  • Traditional land

    Located on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people

  • Size

    20,000 square metres

  • Sustainability

    5 star Green Star Design rating using the Educational Tool

  • Project status

    Complete, 2011


2012 Awards - Victoria
  • 2012 Australian Institute of Architects, Vic Chapter (Public Architecture) – Melbourne Brain Centre, University of Melbourne

“The philosophy of the design of the building…is one of openness, of the ability for researchers to collaborate equally, particularly among research groups. Compared to the old facilities its like night versus day.”

Prof. Geoffrey Donnan AO, Professor of Neurology at The University of Melbourne and former Director of The Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health

“People who wouldn’t normally talk to each other will, for the first time, be able to interact in our fabulous new staff room. We’re just creating a facility here to promote this intellectual sparring and creativity amongst these young post-docs.”

Prof. Colin Masters AO, Professor In Dementia Research Florey Department Of Neuroscience And Mental Health

Attracting researchers

Our design philosophy for the Melbourne Brain Centre is one of openness and connectivity. Large, flexible laboratories and open planned workspace promote collaboration and the transfer of knowledge. The stairs within the atriums interconnect the four levels of laboratories and research offices and encourage movement between research levels and shared meeting spaces. The research offices provide access to shared lounges and meeting rooms, blurring the lines between places to work and recharge or socialise. A key objective of our design is to establish the Melbourne Brain Centre as a world- class research facility and therefore attract the best and brightest talent. We have achieved this by designing an attractive workplace with informal spaces that discourage silo formation and encourage discourse and social science. Our design asserts the building as the home for highly successful and sustainable collaborative research with state of the art, adaptable and future proofed facilities.

Making career pathways visible to students

The concept of connectivity extends to influence the student experience of the Melbourne Brain Centre. Acting as a gatepost at the main entry to the campus, the building is significant for the University of Melbourne. Its form and function impresses on students the University’s ambitious endeavour to be a leader in the research and study of the brain. Expressive architecture, social spaces and world-class facilities provide students with important visual references to encourage their pursuit of careers in brain research.

Showcasing science to the public

The Melbourne Brain Centre invites public engagement on a level that is transformative to the University of Melbourne’s campus. Covered by a sculpted concrete canopy, the building’s front entry porch acts as a key public meeting place. The public zones in the building are located within a generous double height foyer that connects the reception and lift lobbies, cafe, bookshop auditorium and DAX gallery. The public are invited to visually engage with the science spaces above via the two light filled atriums. Conceptually we considered the scientists as the grey matter, working as one for the greater good. Contained in a bone coloured precast shell they are visible through large windows cut into the casing.



the Campus

Key Contacts

Related content