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Top to bottom Victorian ash at the University of Melbourne

Vestings LED Hardwax oil
Stephen Wood
Kane Constructions

The Space

The University of Melbourne’s (UoM) Biosciences building is the perfect example of how to match a consistent timber throughout an entire space. And not just any timber. Australian Oak Engineered Flooring, cleverly partnered with GoodWood Victorian ash and IronAsh.


The new UoM Biosciences building was a $100 million upgrade to combine the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Science, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Services and the Faculty of Science in the one space. The brief for this design was to create a world class facility that will support the next generation of leaders in the biosciences.

Designed and executed by the brilliant minds at HASSELL, the UoM project encapsulates biophilic design at its finest. HASSELL are a world class design practice, operating in Australia, China, South East Asia, the UK and US. ‘Good design is about helping clients meet their needs and objectives. It is also about the way people feel when they experience it, a sense of meaning, connection and belonging’.

To coincide with one of HASSELL’s philosophies to ‘continuously improve environmental performance and energy efficiencies as well as create healthier working environments’, the UoM building demonstrates an accurate representation of sustainable design and the connection of nature to increase productivity.

Blackbutt was originally specified for this project but was revised to a mixure of Australian Oak, GoodWood Victorian ash and IronAsh after a number of technical requirements were realised. One particular concern was the stability of glue-laminated Blackbutt in an intricately detailed, curved and laminated handrail. All parties involved agreed that GoodWood Victorian ash, with quarter sawn grain and known stability was far more suited for this high performance application.


“Given the curvature of the central stair and interior walls, Victorian ash was selected as it is in general, a more dimensionally stable species and therefore was more likely to provide a successful and enduring finish to meet the architectural intent”

ASH were asked to provide samples to match the desired look and performance but to also assist with connecting a team of varying manufacturers from within their supply chain to Kane Constructions. The idea was to result in a seamless look using varying trades. This is often a hard task to complete but the result in this case is a stunning project of consistency, meeting required Green Star ratings and desirability.

Australian Oak engineered flooring was an excellent choice for a high traffic area like this one, because it is coated with a hard wearing LED cured oil that will last even in high traffic conditions. As well as having the most cost effective maintenance offering available when time comes to re-coat in the future. Not only that, but HASSELL were able to get the exact floor they wanted by ordering through the 5 step process;

Step 1: Size
Step 2: Grade
Step 3: Texture
Step 4: Colour (the ‘pure’ coating colour was then used throughout the rest of the joinery materials)
Step 5: Finish

Next Project
Kajewski-Miller’s Victorian Ash Credenza