The collaborative partnership Lyons + Lovell Chen + Studiobird has been appointed to undertake a $90m strategic transformation and refurbishment of the mid-century Menzies Building at Monash University.
The three practices together make a strong delivery team, combining architectural design and planning, fabric conservation and upgrade, Passive House expertise and interior design. Lyons will take the role of Principal Consultant and Lead Architect for the project formally described as Menzies Floor by Floor Refurbishment Stage 2.
[ Menzies Building, east and west wings, circa 1970, photo : Monash University Archives ]
The monumental, 12 storey Menzies Building was designed by Eggleston, MacDonald & Secomb, with engineer W.L. Irwin & Associates (later irwinconsult). It was the first sizeable building on the site, and was intended as a gateway to the University’s Clayton campus. The first phase (west wing, three theatres, escalator stack) was completed in 1962-3, followed by further works in 1965-8 (east wing, more theatres). A south wing was added 1973-5, and new circulation and foyers works completed in 2011.
[ The first stage under construction, circa 1963, photo : Monash Magazine ]
The structure is very interesting. The long thin building appears to be fully concrete frame, with the upper storeys raised off the ground. However, a steel frame basement and ground floor, plus giant steel plate transfer structures running the 125m length of the main building, are concealed behind the concrete casing. Four full-height shear walls are used for stiffening.
[ Stage two under construction (left), and the finished undercroft, photos : (left) Wolfgang Sievers, both Monash University Archives ]
Back in 2009, Lovell Chen provided a heritage appraisal of the Menzies Building and a heritage impact submission for architect DesignInc (successor to Eggleston, MacDonald & Secomb). In 2018 we investigated the possibilities for the integration of ESD measures into the building’s facades, providing detailed strategies for outcomes ranging from meeting code compliance for sustainability, to achieving Passive House EnerPHit standards. These investigations now come into play as the collaborative partnership begins the process of developing the project masterplan, design framework and detailed scope of works.