A living laboratory

The facility includes a green roof that has been designed to test the water quality improvement function of shallow profile roof gardens to not only the verify storm water improvement performance of such systems, but also showcases the possibilities of implementing living architecture to the broader design and construction industry, and community.

Also included in the project is a series of ground level raingardens that demonstrate the WSUD objectives that should be encouraged on all urban projects in order to manage storm water impacts within our cities. Coupled with this is an array of permeable pavements to showcase how these useful WSUD elements look and perform within public spaces.

Primary to the purpose of the project was facilitating a framework for the display and application of research into biofiltration and water treatment systems. The building and landscape have been designed together to allow an adaptive, expandable research platform for the Faculty of Engineering.

ASPECT Studios collaborated with DesignInc and Irwinconsult on a refurbishment of Monash University’s Hydraulics Laboratory, for the Faculty of Civil Engineering.

The overarching objective of the project was to transform the Keller Hydraulics Laboratory into a living laboratory, showcasing specialised bio-filtration and water treatment systems to industry, peers, researchers, and the general public. The ‘Living Lab’ is a flexible platform for testing technologies required to create a water sensitive city. It showcases Monash University’s outstanding research and demonstrates the motivation for water harvesting and recycling.

The project includes living elements including green roofs, green walls and a green facade – making the facility a truly living laboratory. The primary design move was the introduction of a living scaffold to the curtilage of the existing building. This new green façade acts as a visual manifestation of the research ambitions of the faculty.

There are also a number of green walls and vertical gardens, which have been integrated within the envelope of the existing building. These are both research green walls that allow for the collection and sampling of the irrigation discharge, and which can be interchanged and modified to suit a range of research agenda, as well as to the public realm demonstration green walls which are permanent state of the positive visual amenity that green walls can provide.

Monash University

Feasibility Assessment, Concept Design


Monash University, Clayton Campus, Clayton, VIC, Australia


ASPECT Studios, DesignInc, Irwinconsult, Donald Cant Watts Corke, Alchemy, PTA Landscapes, Fytogreen, Tensile Design and Construct




Dianna Snape