Victoria University, Online Training Facility

Victoria University, Online Training Facility

Perhaps one of our most internationally published and awarded buildings, the Victoria University, Online Training Facility demonstrates our capacity to deliver innovative, pioneering and iconic projects. The building accommodates business studies, arts design and multimedia departments at the Victorian University St Albans Campus in Melbourne’s west. Renowned for its exterior expression that is made to visually mimic the inside of a computer, the building is a testament to our exploration of new digital methodologies. Not only visually striking from the outside, the Online Training Facility showcases our ability to innovate teaching and learning environments, moving towards more connected and student focused spaces. Located on the edge of a western plains grassland conservation zone, we worked closely with key stakeholders to deliver the project with a commitment to local environmental issues. Over two decades since completion, the Victoria University, Online Training Facility has stood the test of time, with students enjoying world-class flexible learning spaces in a visually stimulating and encouraging environment.

  • Sector


  • Key Lyons contact

    Carey Lyon
    Neil Appleton

  • Client

    Victoria University

  • Collaborators

    rush\wright associates

  • Address

    Victoria University: St Albans Campus, McKechnie St, St Albans VIC 3021

  • Traditional land

    Located on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people

  • Size


  • Project status

    Completed, 2001

    • 2002 Royal Australian Institute of Architects, Victorian Architecture Medal 
    • 2002 Royal Australian Institute of Architects, William Wardell Award

“We designed this project when virtual realms were not yet ubiquitous to design thinking. We wanted to really push the idea of a ‘digital’ representation as a big idea on the western grasslands of Melbourne, and wrapped around a program that supports students immersing themselves in new media.”

Carey Lyon, Director of Lyons

Flipping the virtual interior to the facade

Across our complex, large scale university projects, we continue to look for inspiring ways to represent disciplines and their inner workings through our architectural language. Victoria University Online Training Facility is a project that encompasses our interest in the evolving opportunities that technology offers for architectural representation. The Online Training Facility is a simple rectangular, two-storey office building clad in a skin of compressed fibre cement. The simple and distinctive form with its clean edges balances the features of the facade. Three sides of the facade are clad in panels with custom computer generated images on Vitrapanel; a pioneering use for this product. Constructed in Photoshop and 3D Max, the repeating digital tile manages to simultaneously reflect the technological inner workings of a computer and blend with the natural environment. The warm colour palette is derived from the neutral basalt plains, native grasses and gums, and is translated into a digital conception through pattern and texture. The texture of the pattern and material gives the illusion of depth to the simple rectangular structure. 

The facade is slit and folded away allowing controlled natural light into the building and providing depth. Balancing these three sides, the north facade is clad in corporate silver panels, tying in well with the formality of the existing campus.

Commenting on the inspiration for the facade, Director of Lyons Neil Appleton said, “When designing this project for Vic Uni, we were enthralled by the evocative site and functional program – where the St Albans heritage grasslands met the high-tech world of the digital Media Arts. As well as designing a highly functional and engaging digital learning environment for creative endeavour, we looked to the landscape for inspiration for the exterior – a landscape translated into digital abstraction. The custom printed image is tiled across the facade so the building shimmers in the real landscape with a kind of strange digital intensity.  We are extremely proud this small humble project was awarded the AIA Victorian Medal in 2002 for best building in show.”

Embedding connectiving into multimedia studies

Completed in 2001, our design for the Online Training Facility is one of many projects that focuses on evolving the teaching type by integrating flexible learning spaces and transforming campuses into active, student-focused environments. While the exterior of the building is visually striking, the interior is equally a product of in depth intellectual investigations. The design not only challenges conventions of the teaching and learning environment, but specifically in computer and multimedia studies. Historically a discipline with connotations of insular and dim environments, our design incorporates a large open access computer precinct. Based around the concept of connectivity, the design forms connections between all teaching and research areas. A key part of the project brief is the large, open computer precinct that acts as a hub for the building. All other teaching and research spaces including computer laboratories, workshops, GPC’s and painting studios are clustered around this central space.

the city


the Campus

Key Contacts

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