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Melbourne School of Design

Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning, University of Melbourne

Melbourne School of Design lighting design by Electrolight


Melbourne School of Design is the new home to the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning. Described as a pedagogical building, it is setting new standards in education.

John Wardle Architects and Boston based architectural firm NADAAA designed the building after winning an international design competition conducted by the University. Electrolight was commissioned to work alongside these two notable firms in designing the specialist lighting scheme to many of the building’s common spaces including the Atrium.

The Atrium is the heart of the building. Cutting over four levels with a beautiful faceted timber ceiling, the atrium allows natural light to flood the space below. The entire building is designed as an education tool, with its exposed structures and materials giving insight into fabrication and construction techniques.

Custom designed ‘spider’ pendants sit harmoniously in the space, providing functional illumination to the atrium. The design of theses luminaires incorporates simple, repeated elements and multiple LED light sources to create a comfortable working environment.

One of the architectural feature elements of the atrium is the “Hanging Studio” which is suspended from the ceiling and hovers over the main floor. This element provides a sense of scale and intimacy to the work area below. Lighting has been integrated into the fin detailing of the studio base, which reveals the materials and textures of the timber whilst providing functional illumination.

The design of the vertical circulation allows the stairs to float within the Atrium space supporting the architectural aspirations of the creation of a space supportive of the flow of creative ideas. The ambitious scissor stair connects the four levels from the atrium up, allowing students and staff to meander through the building. Internal timber cladding and cleverly integrated lighting that appears to escape from between the timber joins provides a warm and intimate path of travel.

The Melbourne School of Design achieved a 6-star Green Star rating by GBCA and is also the first education building to be awarded 10 Green Star innovation credits.

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Melbourne School of Design lighting design by Electrolight
Melbourne School of Design lighting design by Electrolight
Melbourne School of Design lighting design by Electrolight
Melbourne School of Design lighting design by Electrolight