The University of Melbourne

207 Bouverie Street, located in Carlton, is a 5 story building with 3 levels of basement parking. We have been commissioned to develop and then implement a master plan for the site to meet the growing needs of the two departments occupying the building – School of Geography and Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. The master plan looks to both increase the efficiency of the existing building and add additional floor space.  The main ideas we considered were:

  • Adding a 5 story tower building adjacent to existing building.
  • Demolishing the existing building and constructing a new multi story building.
  • Converting existing basement levels to teaching spaces.
  • Adding additional floors.

Each idea was developed and assessed against cost, growth and increase in efficiency. Multiple stakeholders were included in the master planning stage including representatives of the two departments, University space planning and University planning. The approach adopted and now being implemented is:

  • Reconfiguration of the internal spaces of the 5 existing levels to improve space usage efficiency through better planning which increases occupation by approximately 20%.
  • Add 2 new floors to the building which adds 3,000sqm of space – these two new levels enable the University to accommodate an additional 300 staff and students across the two new levels, for a total of +750 staff in the building. 
  • Re-organise the two departments within the building and to create a shared ground floor hub that includes multiple meeting rooms, informal meeting spaces, presentation spaces, cafe, kitchenettes and food preparation areas.

1471_Lincoln St View_2018.05.04

To implement the additional floors required development of an external form that would be supported by the City of Melbourne as the site had newly introduced height limits, is in the hospital flight path and is adjacent to a heritage building. The overall height being proposed for the extended building  was of particular concern to the City of Melbourne as the existing building already exceeded the height limit for the site and additional floors would only exacerbate this issue. To address this  we developed a strategy to sell the proposal to the council that included the following ideas  – which council ultimately supported and  subsequently issued a Planning Permit

  • The ground floor of the existing building would be opened up through the creation of a staff and student hub with a cafe that engaged with the street, something the existing building does not do as it has cellular office type spaces on the ground floor.
  • The new top level would be developed as a Mansard roof so that both it’s visual bulk and overshadowing of adjacent sites was minimized.
  • The introduction and expression of a balcony on the 6th level that would be visible from the surrounding streets.
1471_Bouveire St View_2018.05.04