Kangan Batman Institute / Lyons

© John Gollings

Architects: Lyons
Location: Docklands, , Australia
Project Manager: Carson Group
Structural Engineering: Robert Bird Partnership
Mechanical & Electrical Engineering: Umow Lai & Associates
Acoustic Consultant: Watson Moss Growcott
Builder: Hansen & Yuncken
Project Area: 5,000 sqm
Project Year: 2006
Photographer: John Gollings Photography

ground floor plan

The new Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) in Melbourne’s Docklands accommodates a dedicated training and showcase facility for Australia’s automotive trades and manufacturing. It consists of high-bay workshop spaces, specialist workrooms, classrooms and office accommodation.

A strategy was needed to develop an appropriate civic scale for this small public building in the context of its surrounding commercial urbanscape.

© John Gollings

We looked at the history of the Docklands to identify a gesture to allow the building to compete with its high rise neighbours – in particular the history of the ‘big shed’, evident in the adjacent railway sheds. The roof is a large, simple gable which connects ACE to other Melbourne based industrial training spaces.

© John Gollings

The building also absorbs sources from automotive culture, and its relationships with the city; kerb signs, tyre treads, city overpasses, and the sheen of car showrooms. The interiors evoke something of the automotive predilection for contrasting the technological and mechanical with the finished and the smooth.

© John Gollings

The main foyer with its monumental staircase acts as the key circulation pathway through the building. Visitors experience a transition from traditional technical college materiality; raw blockwork, exposed steel and concrete to contemporary applications of carbon fibre and glass projection technology.

The shed facade system incorporates automated louvres which enable the workshop spaces to be naturally ventilated. The offices and classroom spaces are cooled by an active thermal mass system. In combination with other environmental sustainable design features the building has achieved a 5-Star Green Star environmental rating.

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Kangan Batman Institute / Lyons" 16 Dec 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 28 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=96301>
  • http://www.blakestinyhouse.com Alex Gore

    Better at night.

    • archi

      lol. Better with the lights off? :)

  • lemi

    The literal references to tires, tracks,mechanics is embarrassing. It wouldnt even have been deemed witty in the 70′s. They make a mockery of fairdinkum Architects like Kevein Boreland, God rest his soul, who left Melbourne architects with this type of design inheritance.

    Perhaps taking inspiration from the precision and articulation of automotive construction would have been admirable,like Katsalidis (UB). Its not like this building’s aesthetic has any seductive effect.

    More like another example of untalented Australian architects to getting government school contracts to procure out dated, unmemorable,inefficient and un-enduring buildings. Then they have the ignorance to post it with pride?

    • Big Bang Theory


      This is isnt the 70s?
      And goodness, it’s ‘Kevin Borland’.

      Big Bang Theory

  • Ritchie

    Have you seen the AIA Vic Hq on the corner of exhibition & flinders lane by them, it is bad reflection of Australian Architecture. Funny thing is these buildings win awards. lol

  • ando

    Never been impressed with their work.