The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science
by Lyons

| 33 comments
 

This science facility in Melbourne by Australian firm Lyons has a tessellated facade based on the hexagonal geometry of a molecular structure (+ slideshow).

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Dianna Snape

Located at the Bundoora campus of La Trobe University, the La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science is a six-storey building with hexagonal windows stretching across its front and rear facades.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Dianna Snape

"The cellular exterior of the building is derived from ideas about expressing the molecular research that is being undertaken within the building," explains Lyons.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Dianna Snape

Some of the hexagons are extruded from the facade, creating a series of irregularly shaped meeting spaces, while others are simple windows shaded by overhanging canopies.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Nils Koenning

The three lower floors of the building contain student laboratories and teaching rooms, which open out to small terraces and lawns. Research facilities occupy the top three floors and include administrative spaces, a conference room and a staff lounge.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Michael Evans

A continuous staircase stretches though the centre of the building, starting from a first-floor foyer. A bridge links this foyer with another university building, while more stairs lead down over a low roof to meet the ground level below.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Dianna Snape

The architects used a broad colour palette to highlight details both inside and outside the structure. Vivid blues and reds frame the hexagonal windows, while columns and banisters are coloured bright orange and the bridge features a shade of lime green.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Dianna Snape

Lyons has completed a few university buildings recently, including a bioscience facility with an X-shaped facade and a building covered in brightly coloured scales that was branded "ugly" and "menacing" by Dezeen readers. See more architecture by Lyons.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Dianna Snape

Photography is by Dianna Snape, apart from where otherwise stated.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Dianna Snape

Here's some more information from Lyons:


The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS), La Trobe University

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science (LIMS) is a major new building on La Trobe University's Bundoora Campus, which will meet the University's long-term needs in terms of student learning and research in the science disciplines.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Dianna Snape

Lyons were appointed following a design competition sponsored by the Australian Institute of Architects. An integral part of the brief was for the project to have a 'transformative' effect in terms of the architecture and identity of the campus, which had previously been built within the strict guidelines for materials and heights.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Dianna Snape

The building is designed around the University's specific model for creating a pathway for students in science; an environment where students can develop into student researchers and ultimately into lead researchers.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Michael Evans

The lower levels of the building accommodate first to third year undergraduate learning spaces – with large open flexible labs (accommodating teaching cohorts for 160 students) connected with 'dry' learning spaces. This allows students to move between laboratory based project work, to digital and collaborative learning activities within the adjacent spaces. At ground level, these learning spaces breakout to new landscaped spaces, extending the idea of placing students at the centre of outside social and learning areas.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Dianna Snape

The upper three levels of the building are research focused and based around a highly collaborative model. All laboratories are large open flexible spaces where teams are able to work together, or expand and contract according to research funds. These large 'super labs' are located immediately adjacent to write-up spaces, allowing a very direct physical and visual connection between all research work areas.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Dianna Snape

A series of further shared spaces, including a major conference room, staff 'college' lounge and informal meeting spaces, are also located on the research levels. The design is fully integrated with the adjacent existing building, which accommodates a number of other LIMS research staff and laboratories.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Dianna Snape

The project design also responds to the unique attributes of the University's Bundoora Campus, with its elevated 'concourse' at the first level. The primary reception to the building is, in fact, located at this concourse level at a 'cross roads' of the campus circulation in a north/south direction.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Dianna Snape

A major stairway rises through the centre of the building, connecting the student and research levels – as a form of representation of the 'pathway'. The cellular exterior of the building is derived from ideas about expressing the molecular research that is being undertaken within the building, and is adjusted via the materiality of the building itself.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons
Photograph is by Dianna Snape

The walls are primarily precast concrete, with the cells providing a 'lower' and 'upper' window into the various spaces, aiding the penetration of daylight. The cellular concept also creates a framework for a number of distinctive spaces for students to occupy or for research staff to meet and collaborate.

The La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science by Lyons

Above: long section - click for larger image

  • mindgame

    *facepalm* Sorry!

  • NK121

    This is sledgehammer architecture: if you don’t get out of the way, it’ll leave you with a nasty headache.

  • ovidiu

    There is nothing wrong with your monitors. It is indeed colourful!

    It’s a design that grows on you as you look at it longer. I can’t help but wonder though how you clean the parts that are not (easily) reachable but exposed to viewers (from the inside).

  • http://www.kfeinblog.com/ kfein

    From the outside it looks like a kindergarten.

  • Slater

    Yeah, the pigeon ledges. How would one clean those?

    • Emma

      Find me a pigeon that is not scared to go anywhere near the building!

  • Domilly

    I wish I was an Australian architect.

  • http://www.thelittleblackportfoli.tumblr.com Gustaf

    Why make architecture so difficult? This house gives me headache.

  • bored

    Such moronic comments. You must all live and work in the most bland, sterile and uninteresting spaces.

    • Gustaf

      I really have no problem with extreme colour and shape. But this is too much. The form’s missing arguments. Not my cup of tea.

    • jeb

      Why not look closer. Are you aware that this is just a really boring office building with a garish foot-deep facade? But if a wallpapered office block is what gets you off, then good for you mate.

  • Colonel Pancake

    The scientists have immediately begun work on a vaccination for awful metaphors.

  • james

    Tourettecture.

  • TOny

    WHY?

  • http://www.zazous.co.uk Kate Austin

    You guys are so boring! I think it’s a fantastic building. Creative and inspiring – lucky scientists!

    • http://www.aurelia-m.com aurelia-m

      I do agree with you. I really like this building!

  • JoshuaV

    I’m amazed at how they pulled this off. I’d really like to hear from the client. Is it successful as a laboratory? Labs are so complicated within themselves, I’m amazed how they made it so much more complicated. Clearly, many of you hate this and who knows what it is you’re looking for in architecture, but I find this exciting! I work on labs, and they’re always the most bland and sterile spaces. I can’t imagine working in them. I applaud these architects for trying to liven it up and convincing the clients to make it happen.

  • south

    It goes against several of my design sensibilities but somehow I don’t hate it. Having visited the LaTrobe Bundoora campus hundreds of times as a child and seeing what a grim place it was, I suppose anything to give it a lift would be welcome.

  • )eroen

    Did you not look at the photos of the lab interiors? Glad I don’t have to work there. What a horrible space (and this is not an aesthetic judgement)!

    • Haha

      Yes, those dreadful interiors with nice furniture and lively colours. Visual torture. I demand a grey bunker with asbestos lined walls!

  • Haha

    Nice. Happy colours, playful achitecture. Sure it will drive some people up the wall. How dare they create a space that can actually be enjoyed by people?

  • Sultony

    The designers have no clue as to what design is about. It is facadism architecture with spiritless interiors. Why choose such shapes? Where do they come from?

  • Rich

    This is a disaster. A very elaborately conceived disaster, but a disaster nonetheless. When I look at the architecture that is touted in the professional media now, I despair for our civilisation.

  • Matt

    The problem is not the amount of colour, it’s that the architecture overwhelms every other aspect of the design: function, atmosphere, budget, etc. I dislike this building not because I’m boring (I can appreciate Richard Rogers, James Stirling, even some Will Alsop), but because it’s undisciplined and chaotic. I mean, look at that ridiculous orange pipe that the handrails are attached to, serving no apparent purpose. That alone probably cost $100,000.

    It’s like living inside a kaleidescope while on an acid trip.

  • http://twitter.com/Emerson1899 @Emerson1899

    My 2nd year arch history prof would kick my butt — the handrail appears to be homage to ____.
    #Morphosis openly admitted to ripping off. Someone help me out.

  • http://twitter.com/jbriano @jbriano

    I like how the structure is expertly situated in a location far, far away from me.

  • Will

    I can’t imagine what this is going to be like in 20 years’ time. Today’s playful is tomorrow’s awful.

    Also the exterior detail blocks sunlight doesn’t it? Surely making a room more stuffy for a facade is just ignorant. There is playful, and this is, but playful is not a synonym for good architecture. If handled badly it can be very detrimental to the overall building and I think this is probably one of those, sorry.

  • Shane

    It’s shouting but it’s cool. You don’t have to please everybody as long as you are cool :)

  • pointless

    What is going to happen if I climb the stairs next to an orange giant tube? Will it change my insides or the way I perceive reality? It is useless. This is Sketchup architecture, pull and push. Pointless facades inspired by the most obvious, and not honest at all. You get fancy facades, and then just slice the building in floors as though they weren’t there.

  • Jimbo

    At what point will the architect be considered a vandal?

  • CodyGat

    I personally love this building at first glance. The only question I have, which would tip the scales for me, is; Do those extended red forms on the facade serve as balconies, or are they merely ornamental?

    If these spaces aren’t habitable then I think the designers and the scientists missed out on a great opportunity.

  • hulio

    This is a very narcissistic approach to design. I don’t like it and I think all this unjustified exuberance will age quickly.

  • Gary Walmsley

    Some nice ideas overall, but the with (what I believe is) the overly florid front facade, and the (what seems) obtrusive, large orange pipe extending out of the building and zig-zagging pointlessly. The architects seem to be desperately straining to be edgy, whimsical or innovative – I can’t tell which.