Australian Synchrotron

Australian Synchrotron

That accessibility and understanding can be embraced in the design of high technology facilities is demonstrated most convincingly in Australia's new Synchrotron - home to some truly remarkable science. While requiring stringent performance, the facility also called for a signature form fully related to internal constraints.

With the need to produce a highly controlled environment, it was crucial to minimse the transfer of any vibration from the external environment, and to provide a vast, column free span. The solution was achieved with a series of structural modules built around two bowed trusses on the east/west spine of the building with secondary trusses running north/south. This design maximises flexibility of use as well as future expansion of the number of beamlines and their associated labs.

What makes the Synchrotron unique is its transparency and relatively lightweight construction. The building's metal skin is punctuated with performance glazing, suggesting movement rather than creating it, achieving a compelling form with a strong internal/external relationship. Introducing filtered daylight to perimeter offices and laboratories on both levels, as well as onto the experimental floor, maximises amenity for users, and transforms this high-tech project into a humane space.

Appropriately, the design considers a highly complex range of design and performance factors and avoids any hint of fortress mentality in its expression of unified signature and form.

Project Sheet

Project Summary

Thiess Pty Ltd
Clayton, Victoria
Floor area
13 000 m²
Original value


  • 2007 PCA National Award Public Buildings