Melbourne's Most Beautiful College Campuses

 Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, features exquisite examples of modern architecture
Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, features exquisite examples of modern architecture | © Alexander Cimbal / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Monique La Terra
16 September 2020

Not only is Melbourne home to some of the top universities in Australia, but the campuses are architecturally breathtaking and feature historical and contemporary designs. From the Green Brain at RMIT to the Harry-Potter-esque arches at the University of Melbourne, we have gathered a list of architectural gems that combine education with innovation and beauty.

Storey Hall

Building, University
Map View
Originally home to the Ancient Order of the Hibernians, Storey Hall was acquired by RMIT in 1957 and opened as a campus building in 1996. Located on Swanston Street, the building was designed by architectural firm Ashton Raggatt McDougall who took inspiration from Roger Penrose’s scientific theory on tile patterns. The geometric façade is bright green in homage to Hibernian Hall’s Irish heritage and blends postmodern deconstructivism with the building’s original neoclassical aspects. Spilling out from Storey Hall is the Green Brain which sits atop Building 22 and looks a lot like Nickelodeon slime.

RMIT Design Hub

Building
Map View
In contrast to Storey Hall, the RMIT Design Hub is sleek and features 16,000 sand-blasted glass cells, which collect solar energy. Designed by Sean Godsell Architects, the research facility is used by students across various disciplines, and the self-sustainable building has won several awards, including the 2013 International Architecture Award.

Swanston Academic Building

Building, University
Map View
Facing Storey Hall and Building 8 is the Swanston Academic Building, which features six massive lecture theatres and has a five-star green rating. The building was designed by Lyons Architects and features eight coloured anodised finishes. The intention of the design was for it to be a catalyst for a dialogue between itself and other famous Melbourne landmarks.

Monash University

Building, University
Map View
With its own postcode (3800), Clayton is the largest campus of Monash University and features exquisite examples of modern architecture, including the New Horizons building. Designed by Lyons, New Horizons focuses on research in fields like biomedicine, transport, aerospace and mineral processing. It also includes a state-of-the-art room known as ‘the Cave’ where 3D images can be projected onto a 360-degree curved wall.

Swinburne University of Technology

University
Map View
Designed by H2o architects, Swinburne University of Technology is located in Hawthorn, a short walk from Glenferrie Road. Swinburne’s main campus has a number of facilities concentrating on engineering and houses several cutting-edge facilities over 19,000 square meters (205sqft), including the Brain Sciences Institute, a nanophotonics facility spread across the basement level, a neuroimaging facility with MEG and MRI, and the largest strong-structures laboratory in the southern hemisphere. The twin 10-level buildings are shielded by perforated concrete façades, reminiscent of Lego imprints, and are connected by several glazed bridges.

La Trobe University

University
Map View
The largest metropolitan campus in Australia, La Trobe University, is located in Bundoora. Designed by architecture firm Yuncken Freeman, this campus is characterised by its utilitarian, international post-war style and features a moat, a wildlife sanctuary, restaurants, bars, banks and a medical centre, while its sports facilities are used by A-League soccer team Melbourne Heart. One of La Trobe’s most impressive buildings is the Institute for Molecular Science, which was designed by Lyons. The linked hexagons on the exterior walls were inspired by molecular research, and the protruding spaces overlook the northern forecourt.

University of Melbourne

University
Map View
South lawn in University of Melbourne, Australia
© Nick Ong / Alamy Stock Photo

The University of Melbourne is the second-oldest university in Australia, and its graduates include four prime ministers and five governor-generals. There are 12 residential colleges, and the main campus in Parkville is one of the most beautiful in the country. Trinity College, Ormond College and Janet Clarke Hall feature ivy-clad buildings from the late 19th century, while the Baillieu Library, which opened in 1959, features 20th-century innovations, such as moveable walls.

Old Arts

Building, University
Map View
When walking through the arches of the Old Arts Building, you half expect to run into Professor Snape on the way to a potions class, as everything from the Tudor-Gothic buildings to the 5-storey clock tower looks like something straight out of a Harry Potter novel. Built between 1919 and 1924, the Old Arts Building was designed by S. C. Brittingham and is home to humanities, social sciences and language faculties.
These recommendations were updated on September 16, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.