The Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation provides a new facility for the conservation of two and three dimensional art works. It includes laboratories, specialist storage spaces, exhibition entry, offices and meeting rooms. While these functions were previously hidden from public view, the brief called for a more engaging interface between the Centre and the street.

The design response was to establish a new ground floor façade that playful engages Swanston Street, and presents a sculptural pedestrian entry point for this unique institution. The dappled light generated by the screens echo the shade canopy of the existing elm trees. Considered window openings showcase the endeavours of the laboratory technicians, and create a whimsical dialogue between passer-by and user.
Interior laboratory spaces have been designed to maximise light and enhance a sense of height within the restrictions of an existing structure. The expression of mechanical services also celebrates the technical aspects of contemporary conservation.

The final result is a facility that reflects the client’s specific brief for internal environment, while maximizing natural light and transparency with minimal use of resources.


AIA Victorian Architecture Awards - Educational Architecture Award

AIA Victorian Architecture Awards - COLORBOND® Award for Steel Architecture Commendation



Gross Floor Area:

860 sqm


Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation


Aurecon Pty Ltd

General Contractor:

United Commercial Builders Pty Ltd


Emily Bartlett