National Centre for Synchrotron Science, Melbourne

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National Centre for Synchrotron Science
Clayton, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The National Centre for Synchrotron Science is a spectacular building that celebrates the science of light through the art of architecture.

The visually alluring new visitor centre takes its cue from the Australian Synchrotron’s international role as a sophisticated, high technology research facility using light as a medium. Providing a gateway and new public face for the campus, the contemporary, innovative and intelligent architecture for the Centre is a confident symbol and celebration of the Synchrotron’s ground-breaking work.

The large foyer/gallery space on the ground floor doubles as an event space and extends to encircle the lecture theatre – a further reference to the Synchrotron’s endless circular motion. Striated and filmed translucent, acrylic panels, infuse the gallery space with a polychromatic ethereal light. Plastic lenses inserted into skylights are positioned around the perimeter of the theatre, pushing natural light down and through the wall cavity to form a stunningly radiant built presence of high brilliance. The resulting shimmering quality makes the constant movements of light visible. This treatment references the Synchrotron’s dynamic manipulation of light and minimises the gallery’s use of artificial light during the day.

Another design device deployed to express the nature of light in the Synchrotron is a play on the traditional dark lecture theatre. A vast array of halo-shaped fluorescent lights punctuate the felt-lined ceiling to demonstrate the power of light as the sole experience in the calm, soft grey aesthetic of the lecture theatre.

A new Australian Synchrotron administrative hub is located on the upper level, away from public activity and functions.

Australian Synchrotron

3,900 sqm



The Australian Synchrotron
In the press

Shorlisted for National AIA Award

National Centre for Synchrotron Science

Permanent Art Collection Installed

Kristen Whittle
On Harnessing Natural Light