Hedley Bull Centre for World Politics
by Lyons Architects



Melbourne architectural and urban design practice Lyons have completed a new research centre at the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.


The hexagonal-shaped building is wrapped with "digitally designed pre-cast concrete panels".


The Hedley Bull Centre for World Politics was completed in August. Photography: Dianna Snape and Trevor Mein.


The following is from Lyons Architects:


Hedley Bull Centre, The Australian National University

This new four level building at the Australian National University in Canberra Australia accommodates three Colleges specialising in international relations and comparative politics.


Located at one of the University’s principal entry gateways the building forms the hub of a new international studies precinct.


Its hexagonal plan form references the adjacent Coombs Building, metaphorically connecting the new building to this important ANU landmark and its originating role in the development of international studies in Australia.


As an object in-the-round, the building marks its prominent street corner. The form is cut through on the principle façade, connecting inside and outside and giving views to the surrounding Canberra hills.


The ground floor accommodates the Centre’s public spaces – entry foyer, discursive teaching spaces and lecture rooms, seminar spaces and a public café – all arranged around a central forum space which acts as a focus for meeting and exchange.


The upper levels accommodate the work, study and research spaces for Centre staff, visitors and students.  Offices for quiet, reflective work are located around the perimeter.


The inner offices are positioned around the central forum space which provides light and outlook to these work spaces.


The hexagonal floor plan generates a continuous ‘loop’ linking together a series of shared meeting, utility and group spaces on each level, promoting interactivity and exchange between occupants.


The two open timber staircases link each of the four levels of the building.


The building’s exterior is made from digitally designed pre-cast concrete panels with incised meridians which tightly wrap the building. The contrasting interior spaces are lined with Australian timbers, referencing the landscape of the ANU campus.












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Posted on Sunday November 30th 2008 at 2:28 pm by Matylda Krzykowski. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • m:D

    what’s the point of those grooves? other than that i like the building, nice interior atrium

  • tito

    what do you think?
    pointless effort on the facade texture? for me is the most questionable issue at first sight…

  • wow..this is well descriptive write up….the photograph compilation explain most of the things

  • stev

    WOW! This is modern and classical in one – pure and full of phantasy – seems to be functional too. Great design in the quality of Alvar Aalto.

  • JL

    The concrete appears taut and fabric like, a feat for concrete ; wonderful finish.
    Again, with Lyons, maximum effect from innovative ideas while respecting existing context. Superb

  • rodger

    queer lot those australians.

    i think their talent for computer fabrication should extend a tad further than being employed for questionable decorative purposes on the exterior.

    plus, the main interior space has been handled in questionable manner, the dark underside of the crossing element is disturbingly oppressive in its presence which brings me to the point of lighting in your interiors generally, .. poorly conceived.
    good lighting trumps all. you guys fail to get this axiom and proceed to provide poor lighting in every interior space including the most important space in the building, the interior court, which is otherwise articulated in an interesting manner.

  • yimyim

    respecting existing context? how exactly? I live down the road from this building….im not a fan! but some of their other work is great!

  • Not a fan of Lyons usually but this at least has piqued my interest.

  • One

    Very intreguing way to test any effect on concrete on a real building. Great effort, I love the intention. In close up detail the surface appears to be very seductive…

  • JL

    Respects context in that, clearly, as stated in the text the ‘hexagonal plan form references the adjacent Coombs Building, metaphorically connecting the new building to this important ANU landmark and its originating role in the development of international studies in Australia.’ I’m not sure the context changes just because you’re not a fan.

  • yimyim

    Ohh I’m sorry JL. I thought that my comment was directly exactly at that comment…

  • Indi

    I hope that is extremely smart glass. If not there’s going to be some air-con working overtime in a Canberra summer (36-45 degrees celsius on many days). Nice to see some shots of people making things and inhabiting the building- I hope they got course credit.