La Trobe Institute for Molecular Science

Project Summary/Description

The development of the La Trobe Institute of Molecular Science's new facilities is the University's largest investment to date in research and academic infrastructure.  Costing $97 million this project will deliver:

  • A new 11,000m2 (GFA) six level teaching and research building adjoining the Physical Sciences 4 (PS4) building (the current home of the School of Molecular Sciences) at a cost of $85.4 million of which $80.6 million is being funded by the Federal Government
  • A major upgrade of the 6,000m2 (GFA) 4 level PS4 building which will provide state-of-the-art laboratories for teaching and research purposes ($5.4 million of which $5.0 million is Federally funded)
  • A development of a new LIMS Specific Pathogen Free (SPF) facility to meet the expanding research activities of the new Institute ($6.0 million)

These new and upgraded facilities will deliver:

  • 35 research laboratories plus support laboratories and spaces including tissue culture and equipment rooms
  • An equipment barn on the ground floor which will house the proteomic/ mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) and advanced microscopy facilities in glass-walled laboratories for public viewing
  • Expanded chemical and gas storage facilities in Building PS3
  • 11 teaching laboratories  plus preparation rooms, instrument rooms and storage for undergraduate teaching
  • Office accommodation for over 400 researchers, teaching and support staff
  • A 180 seat auditorium for teaching use and public lectures
  • Public-access areas to be used for joint programs and workshops with collaborating partners, including secondary schools science outreach activities
  • Large north facing courtyards for functions and group learning.

Design Features of the New Building

LIMS primary facilities will be housed in an iconic new building creating state of the art environments for researchers and students. Designed by acclaimed university architects, Lyons, the six level structure will be linked into the existing upgraded four storey (PS4) building, providing a fully integrated research and learning environment.  The overall design of the complex will echo the Institute's 'pathway philosophy' - from secondary student, to undergraduate, to postgraduate, to future scientist.

The design also aims to promote a strong sense of community between researchers, teachers, science students and the wider campus communities.  It provides spaces that allow people to interact as a matter of course during their daily activities, in the staff lounges, in informal meeting spaces or 'bump' spaces including large open stairs which reinforce the sense of interconnectivity.

Flexibility will be the hallmark feature of the new laboratories – this will enable future users to respond to changing research demands, and for collaboration between the various science disciplines that will occupy the building.

The building also incorporates a range of leading edge sustainability technologies, with the project aiming to achieve at least a 5 Star Green Star level using the Green Building Council of Australia's Educational Tool.

Funding Source and Budget Details

The project budget is $97 million of which $85.8 million is funded by external (Commonwealth Government) sources.

Timeline/Key Milestones

Consisting with the project program the construction of the new building commenced in 2011.

The PS4 building upgrade was substantially completed in July 2010.

The SPF facility is currently being tendered with a view to a consruciton commencement by end July 2011 and a completion by March 2012.

For the main LIMS building the key delivery milestones are set out in the table below.

Milestone ActivityTarget Date
Schematic Design13 July 2010
Design Development and Tender Documentation22 December 2010
Appoint Main Contractor2 April 2011
Construction Commencement16 April 2011
Main Structure and Roof Completed30 March 2012
Facade Works Completed01 June 2012
Practical completion (handover)21 December 2012
Research Equipment Installed3 February 2013
Operational Commencement2 March 2013

Project Team

Project ManagersAPP Corporation
Design ArchitectsLyons
Landscape ArchitectsRush Wright
Briefing ArchitectsS2F
Structural & Civil EngineersMeinhardt
Services EngineersNorman Disney Young
Quantity SurveyorsSlattery Australia
Main (Design & Construction) ContractorWatpac Construction (VIC)

Useful links