University of Melbourne Bio21 Ruth Bishop Building
University of Melbourne
Within the Bio21 precinct, the Ruth Bishop Building provides a purpose-built home for the University of Melbourne’s Ian Holmes Imaging Centre, housing ten electron-microscopes including one of the highest resolution instruments in Australia.
Designed as an extension and refurbishment of the disused Veterinary Research Institute dating from 1910, and set behind the heritage-listed Market Wall, the new building complements the history of the site in scale, order, and program. Vertical fins create a mediating screen between the old and new fabric of the site, while providing solar shading and screening the various functions behind. Inside, careful planning has allowed the suites and laboratory preparation areas to be within the same PC2 zone, offering the users a seamless and safe workflow. Views between spaces showcase research activity, increasing safety and creating a collegiate feel in the building.
Tailored solutions – including the cross-laminated timber structure, structurally isolated footings, and fibreglass reinforced concrete – were adopted to reduce stray earth currents and vibration from disrupting the microscopes. Existing electromagnetic field levels were reduced by over 98% and vibration levels are 100 times more stable than an operating theatre, resulting in one of the world’s most stable facilities for electron microscopy.
The Ruth Bishop Building sits on the final major development site remaining in the precinct. It successfully cocoons its precious microscopes within the core, protecting them from anything which could adversely affect their performance. As a world-leading facility, it improves the offerings of Melbourne Advanced Microscopy and reinforces the University of Melbourne’s status as leaders in this field of science.