The University of Melbourne, Veterinary School

Architects Billard Leece Partnership
Location: Australia, Melbourne
Year: 2019
Area: 8820 m2
Photographs: Emily Bartlett
Other Team Members: Outlines, Landscape Designer Bonacci, Facade Consultant Du Chateau Chun, Building Surveyor Umow Lai, ESD / Fire Engineer

Shortlisted: 2020 INDE.Awards, The Learning Space Award.

The university of Melbourne, Veterinary School provides world-class education for students and state-of-the-art facilities for practicing veterinarians by introducing the energy of the outdoors into all learning spaces.

Blurring the lines between inside and outside, rural and suburban, the new campus encourages an agile and exciting learning experience.

102694 UniofMelbVetSch
Image by Emily Bartlett

Designed as a “Sticky campus”, encouraging students to learn, live and socialize on site, taking advantage of shared amenities, the design responds to the challenges of online learning, and attracts international, rural and city students. Components of the Learning and Teaching Building (LTB) are open 24/7, enriching the campus lifestyle and providing spaces for professional development for practicing veterinarians.

As the tallest built form, the LTB draws everyone towards and through the campus. The ground floor extends the social heart of the campus, improving connectivity to its landscape.

102693 UniofMelbVetSch
Image by Emily Bartlett

A main staircase is a dynamic pathway of connected spaces from perches, nooks and ledges looking out to the surroundings while bridging all internal terrain. It is enveloped by perforated aluminum sun-shading, reducing the need for artificial light, flooded by sunlight during the day, and allows internal light to radiate out at night, attracting interaction through to the evening.

In the library, bespoke glass displays house treasured collections like a jewelry box. Subdued lower lighting levels and zoning of furniture, softer carpet creates quieter conditions.

In a natural garden setting, student lounges retain blockwork pillars and sustainable finishes are specified for longevity. Change rooms are reminiscent of homestead ‘boot rooms’; rustic and durable. Clinical skills labs follow the colours of the Vet-Hospital, linking the teaching environment with the working environment.

102695 UniofMelbVetSch
Image by Emily Bartlett

The U-Vet Hospital features a new entrance and waiting area, consulting suites, intensive care and emergency wards, wards accommodating different species, working and learning spaces, and additional parking.

Consulting with practicing veterinarians provided insight to reducing animal stress during wait time, a significant factor for a positive visit. Curved timber ‘pods’ in the waiting area minimize stress by averting a pets’ field of vision, providing separation and reducing fear.

Delivery of the design for the complex project approached a challenging program and budget criteria which required monitoring. Integration of existing buildings provided options to add value through amalgamating building functions. Overall planning considers future expansion possibilities beyond this redevelopment. Internal and external design features are symbiotic, creating a seamless flow and allowing everyone access to the landscape required.

102700 UniofMelbVetSch
Image by Emily Bartlett


By collaborating with architects and ESD experts, the benefits of proposed sustainability endeavours were measured and modelled through simulation.

Evidence based calculations informed our design decisions. Reducing utility consumption ultimately reduced operating costs.

Key sustainability measures included an efficient façade system with high-performance double glazing, external solar shading and insulation. HVAC systems utilizing control strategies, efficient evaporatively cooled chillers, an artificial lighting system using high efficiency LED lighting, and LED downlights were also utilized. Solar PV panels provide energy from the rooftop. Efficient water fixtures and fittings use Class A recycled water. The redevelopment was built over predeveloped land, reducing the impact on greenfield sites.

102702 UniofMelbVetSch
Image by Emily Bartlett
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