New Academic Building, Murdoch University

New Academic Building, Murdoch University

“The New Academic Building provides Murdoch University students with new large collaborative learning spaces, a range of memorable informal student spaces, experimental technology labs and bespoke retail opportunities. The building will create a new gateway into the centre of the campus and with its mass engineered timber structure and 6 star Greenstar performance, showcase Murdoch University’s vision for a sustainably, student-centred future.”

Edward Berry, Principal of Lyons

Connecting
with landscape

Designing
sustainable futures

Student
Experience

Transforming
the Campus

The New Academic Building (NAB) for Murdoch University in Perth will be the first large-scale mass engineered timber building in Western Australia. It marks the beginning of a visionary transformation set to unlock the campus centre, consolidate the academic core, and provide a new address for the university. The NAB positions Murdoch University to pursue growth in education and research. The project explores the potential of a highly flexible, adaptable grid that will accommodate the future needs of Murdoch’s teaching and learning within. Close collaboration between architecture, engineering and best practice sustainability combine to deliver a new vibrant core for the campus. In collaboration with local studios Officer Woods, The Fulcrum Agency, Silver Thomas Hanley and Aspect Studios, we lead a design that reflects the character of Western Australia and builds on the original bush campus of Murdoch University.

  • Sector

    Education & Learning

  • Key Lyons contacts

    Carey Lyon
    Edward Berry

  • Collaborators

    Led by Lyons, with Aspect Studios, Officer Woods, The Fulcrum Agency, Silver Thomas Hanley

  • Client

    Murdoch University

  • Location

    Murdoch WA 6150

  • Traditional land

    Located on the traditional lands of the Wadjuk Noongar People

  • Size

    16,000 sqm

  • Project status

    In construction

A new academic campus core

The New Academic Building (NAB) is part of the Murdoch Campus Masterplan and is one of a number of transformational projects for the Perth campus. Our design elevates teaching and learning spaces, creates a new address to the campus and resolves long standing access issues. A strong and successful north south spine provides links and activity, enhancing precinct cohesion and legibility. We maintained the character of the campus by responding to existing regional modernist architecture, echoing its form, shape and material. The design maintains cohesion and integrates a series of previously disjointed buildings and spaces. The new built form brings an innovative new presence, creating a vibrant core and unlocking the potential of the existing library spaces. The NAB and its surrounding landscape creates a campus rich with opportunities for social interaction. Designated community and industry engagement spaces promote broader connection between Murdoch University and the community. 

Iconic functionality

A distinct feature of the New Academic Building (NAB) is its use of a world-leading engineered timber frame. Marking the first mass timber building in Western Australia, the project feels right at home in the bush campus of Murdoch University. Through a series of workshops with the client we developed a shared vision for the iconic timber construction. The timber structure drove planning decisions, allowing us to place large student spaces on the upper levels of the building. Our design found a functional balance to incorporate concrete while maximising and showcasing timber throughout. Laminated timber beams and columns are used in conjunction with cross-laminated timber floor panels, to utilise plantation-grown timber as a replacement for traditional concrete and steel structure for the majority of the building. With its lower carbon footprint and increased opportunities for natural ventilation, the timber structure contributes to the environmental sustainability of the building and will receive a World Leadership 6 Star Green Star rating. We’ve harnessed the true technical capabilities of a timber structure with the benefits of a flexible, future-proof design.

“As a University that prides itself on our bush campus, with a strong 20-year masterplan, we are focused on the delicate balance of the local environment as we proceed with the construction of the New Academic building. We have been working with our own Murdoch experts together with those from our partners to implement comprehensive environmental plans.”

Darren McKee, Murdoch University Chief Operating Officer

Future-proof learning spaces

The New Academic Building (NAB) follows a creative warehouse model that offers a highly flexible and adaptable core. This model completely transforms how learning is executed and allows both technical performance and internal flexibility over the full life cycle of the building. Through our consultation process with Murdoch University we identified a need for spaces that encourage large format collaborative learning. We developed a spectrum of learning spaces to support a range of delivery pedagogies, including collaborative, tech-enabled, experimental and digital immersive learning. The building includes immersive industry collaboration facilities such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence studios to allow students to interact with industry and learn skills that tackle real world scenarios. The diversity of activity in the building provides high amenity, incorporating teaching and learning spaces among peer learning and academic workplaces, student services, community and industry engagement spaces and food and retail. The design unlocks the library renovation, expanding the campus and providing more space for peer learning.

Key Contacts