Billard Leece Partnership (BLP) has delivered a complete refurbishment to the La Trobe University Melbourne City Campus.

The design adds new teaching and informal learning spaces for over 300 students, student break-out spaces, function areas, an outdoor terrace area, and front of house and staff facilities.

“We designed the campus with the mature postgraduate students demographic in mind, offering a formal aesthetic through the colour palette and chosen furnishings,” says BLP associate, Ariel Lopez.  “Respecting the university’s design guidelines, we reinforced a strong sense of branding throughout but added brief moments of timber to lighten the experience of the spaces.”

The project called for an entire new city campus within the constraints of a CBD office building. BLP undertook a large amount of spatial planning in the early stages of the design, to makes sure all of La Trobe University’s requirements would fit within the two floors. Open-plan informal learning spaces allowed the floor area to be maximised.


As the design services both the business and law faculties of the university, learning spaces had to be adaptable to enable different teaching modes and styles of learning. Throughout the rooms, flexible spatial design and state-of-the-art technology supports three very different teaching modes – lecture mode, collaborative teaching, and pod studying.


Additionally, the design offers a main access from the Little Collins Street plaza, drawing users into the front-of-house facilities on the second floor. This feature will allow the university to have a strong visual presence in the CBD, as well as providing the public with a formal entrance. 

This project was one of the first to be delivered via La Trobe University's ‘Fast Track’ delivery program, with the design and construction of the entire project completed within 10 months. This was to ensure doors were opened by the first semester of 2017.

“In order to maintain the integrity of the client’s design vision against the demands of the timeframe, our team engaged in 3D visualisation very early on in the design process, working closely with the client to establish and preserve a high level of design quality throughout this important space,” says Lopez.

The new La Trobe Melbourne City campus opened in March.