UNIVERSITY of Melbourne, Faculty of Architecture

John Wardle Architects and Office dA have been named the winners of the competition to design the landmark new Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning site at the University of Melbourne.

The building will include dedicated spaces for research into sustainable precinct design and performance, along with lecture theatres, a library, exhibition, and specialist workshop spaces.  It will accommodate students enrolled in the Bachelor of Environments, one of the degrees formed under the Melbourne Model, and in the Melbourne School of Design as well as provide offices for staff of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning.

The competition jury noted the quality of the partnership between Melbourne based John Wardle Architects and Boston based practice Office dA. The Dean of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, Professor Tom Kvan, says their scheme showed a strong understanding of educational, environmental, and social issues in a design that would generate excitement for all staff and students.  “The winning design showed a detailed understanding of the teaching and research activities of the Faculty and the potential for contribution to research across the campus.”

Short listed entrants had to address four key issues central to the project: Built Pedagogy, The Academic Environment, The Design Studio, and The Living Building.  In evaluating the presentations, the Jury focused on demonstrated capacity to work with the University to achieve our aspirations, a focus on design quality. The Jury, which consisted of noted architects Odile Decq (Paris) and Peter Elliott  (Melbourne), the Vice Chancellor Professor Glyn Davis and Professor Tom Kvan, were highly impressed by the presentations given by all six short listed practices, and noted the broad range of design responses and variety of innovative approaches to research and education.

The John Wardle Architects and Office dA submission was selected out of 133 submissions from 15 countries. Six entrants were then selected to proceed to competition stage, with each paid to develop a conceptual response to the key issues of the brief. The competition was endorsed by the Australian Institute of Architects.  Presentation boards summarising the response from each of these entrants will be on display in the Wunderlich Gallery at the Parkville campus throughout September.  Further information on the architectural design competition is on the Faculty’s website at


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