The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (WEHI) of Medical Research is Australia’s oldest medical research facility. The institute’s location in Melbourne, Australia, is among the world’s most concentrated medical science precincts and includes the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Commonwealth Serium Laboratories, and Royal Children’s Hospital. Also nearby are The University of Melbourne and Monash University’s Facility of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.


The scope

In December 2008, former Premier of Victoria John Brumby announced a proposal for a new building project that would double the size of the laboratory facilities. This redevelopment was designed to improve the speed of translating new scientific discoveries into more effective diagnosis, treatments, and preventative strategies.The project would also enhance collaboration between researchers, both within the institute and between neighboring research entities, and help improve the identity and visibility of WEHI to assist in attracting research grants, as well as researchers.

An experienced and integrated consultant team was appointed to design the facility, including architectural consultancy Denton Corker Marshall, project architects S2F, project manager Aurecon, and contractor Baulderstone.

Project budget

The Victorian Government and the Australian Government each provided a $50 million capital works grant. Together with $30 million from The Atlantic Philanthropies, these grants enabled the expansion of the Parkville building to nearly double its size.

New facilities

The new laboratories feature open spaces with glass walls that provide visual connection to the bright, open-plan office areas. More spaces for formal and informal meetings were added, as well as a larger tearoom with access to balconies, casual lounge areas, and skypods.

Increased parking and meeting spaces for staff and students were provided to improve the working environment. A new west wing houses seven levels of laboratories and scientific support services, including a clinical translation center.

In the end, the redevelopment project increased the total gross floor space of the building from around 161,000 square feet to more than 336,900 square feet and provided facilities for nearly 400 additional researchers.