monash Biological sciences lab
A new building for the School of Biological Sciences, located in the protected native landscape “Jock Marshall Reserve” at Monash University’s Clayton campus.
The building forms a new gateway to the JMR Reserve from College Walk, which accesses the Monash Halls of Residence. The main internal space is a laboratory for collaborative learning about the environment, the science of plants and animals.
The laboratory collaborative learning area is divisible into two spaces each for 52 students and the external balcony/deck provides a long bench for sorting and washing of samples collected in field work activities.
The design for the JMR Laboratory building expresses the idea of looking at the natural world using a piece of scientific equipment. Components of a microscope inform the shape of the building including an eyepiece forming the entrance and ocular windows in each laboratory that resemble microscope lenses looking out over the reserve. The eyepiece entry tube forms the gateway to the reserve and stimulates curiosity in visitors to discover what can beinvestigated in this unique natural environment.
The plan form expresses the concept of a radial laboratory that fans out toward the Reserve with an elevated floor plate that immerses the space into the tree tops. The plan is also an expression of the shape of a microscope with eyepiece, body and angled lenses.
The building as a scientific device appears as separate top and bottom components joined by a continuous ribbon of glass that frames views of the landscape in all directions from inside and views of activities within from outside. In sections where windows are not needed, the ribbon of glass reverts to green mirror stainless steel to reflect images of the landscape on to the skin of the new structure.
The building expands and enhances the experience of visiting this unique natural landscape within the Monash Clayton campus and supports students undertaking field work within the reserve. The new facilities benefit the University by activating College Walk, and opens up the Reserve to a wider university audience and to the community through links with Schools.