Montrose Gymnasium featured in Architizer

Posted on Jun 4, 2021

An exceptional new facility for a much-loved school and its community, the Montrose Primary School Gymnasium has been featured in Architizer. Designed to respond to the character of the Dandenong foothills, not only does it provide a full competition grade basketball court with spectator seating, a fork-to-fork kitchen garden program, unisex facilities and flexible learning environments, but it also acts as a designated bushfire shelter.

“Our new gymnasium is an interactive learning environment for our school that stimulates a growing child’s mind and body. Our fully equipped gymnasium affords our students the opportunity to be highly active during physical education and sport lessons, while also discovering the importance of health and nutrition through the kitchen garden program in our new canteen’s kitchen. The gymnasium offers a platform for teachers to collaborate for professional learning and a place where all students and staff, as well as the wider community, can meet for a wide variety of events in state-of-the-art facilities,”
Glenn Storr, Assistant Principal, Montrose Primary School


Visit Architizer to read more about the Montrose Primary School Gymnasium.

The new building has been oriented to maximise north and south aspects and limit exposure to the east and west. Sizing and placement of windows balances the need for natural light, views, heat gain and heat loss. Sun protection to the north is provided by translucent double skin polycarbonate sheeting preventing direct sunlight and overheating. Photo by Trevor Mein.






Revisiting Australia’s largest research greenhouse

Posted on May 21, 2021

The University of Adelaide Plant Accelerator is Australia’s largest research greenhouse and plays a fundamental role in crop research and plant phenomics across the globe. Designed by H2o Architects in collaboration with Phillips Pilkington Architects, The Plant Accelerator (TPA) is located at the University of Adelaide’s renowned Waite Research Precinct, the largest agricultural research, education and commercialisation precinct in the Southern Hemisphere.

Designed over two levels, the 4,500 square metre facility includes an upper greenhouse level for plant growth with automated plant imaging stations, and a lower support area housing plant growth chambers, potting, germination and research laboratories, and administrative offices.

Housing Australia’s first automated high-throughput phenotyping system, TPA can process 160,000 plants a year via automated facilities for high-volume plant growth and analysis. Over a decade since commencing operations, TPA continues to be a world-leading infrastructure facility, attracting researchers from Australia and abroad.

The project was awarded the Keith Neighbour Award for Commercial Architecture by the South Australian chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects.

The Plant Accelerator provides vital infrastructure for crop research and plant breeding in Australia. Photo by David Sievers.






H2o Architects’ KA5 Building featured in Architecture & Design

Posted on May 14, 2021

Thank you to Architecture & Design for recently featuring our Deakin KA5 project, a completely new, contemporary workspace for the university’s Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment (SEBE).

Designed to infill an underutilised courtyard, we transformed three floors of Building KA to accommodate projected growth in staff and Higher Degree by Research (HDR) student numbers. Importantly, the project also shepherds in Deakin’s Workspace Principles, providing an effective, engaging, and efficient workspace that responds to the different ways people work.

Deakin KA5, along with the Montrose Primary School Gymnasium and the new high-tech Research Building for UTS have been entered into this year’s Australian Institute of Architecture Awards. Winners are to be announced in June.

Deakin KA5. A dramatic central spheroid light well, large glazed sawtooth roof ridges, and voluptuous ceiling valleys break up the rigidity of the interior and draw light deep into the floorplan and lower level. Photo by Kane Jarrod.






Projects in-progress

Posted on May 11, 2021

H2o Architects has several projects currently under construction, including the St Kilda Apartments and Little Grey St Apartments for HousingFirst.

Almost complete, the St Kilda Apartment development combines new and refurbished heritage buildings to create 50 secure units for at-risk mothers and babies. Also under construction and due for completion early next year, is the Little Grey Street Apartment project in St Kilda.

The Little Grey Street development will transform an existing rooming house into fully self-contained units, creating suitable long-term accommodation for women over 55 years old at risk of homelessness. Our design allows for ageing-in-place, as well as communal indoor and outdoor spaces to encourage socialisation and interaction. Naturally ventilated without air conditioning, the design also achieves 100% adaptive reuse of the existing base building.

Other projects currently underway include the Yarra Ranges Civic Centre Redevelopment and a new gymnasium for McKinnon Secondary College.

St Kilda Apartments nearing completion: The design fosters a strong connection to the adjacent St Kilda Botanical Gardens and is designed to achieve a 4 Star Green Star Rating.






Celebrating the future of sustainable architecture

Posted on Apr 30, 2021

H2o Director Mark O’Dwyer was honoured to be selected as a juror for the Victorian Architecture Awards 2021 in the Sustainable Architecture category recently.

With renewed global attention on the critical importance of accelerating sustainable architecture and building practices, Mark and his fellow jurors, Ben Milbourne (chair, Common/RMIT) and Elizabeth Campbell (Kennedy Nolan), had the pleasure of delving into the latest sustainable designs and innovations across the state.

As a jury member, Mark draws on H2o’s track record in pioneering sustainable design and expertise in adaptive reuse projects. Notable H2o projects include the Advanced Technology Centre at Swinburne University, the first education building in Australia awarded a 5 Star Green Building Council of Australia rating; Australia’s largest research greenhouse, the highly specialised Plant Accelerator at the University of Adelaide; and Albert Park’s Lakeside Stadium, with the restoration of its 1926 heritage grandstand.

Committed to sustainable design that is practical and affordable, H2o Architects strive to reduce the impact of architecture on the environment. The Australian Institute of Architects’ Awards program provides an important platform for knowledge-sharing and leadership, encouraging all practices on the road towards a more sustainable future.

The 2021 Victorian Architecture Awards shortlist has now been released, with winners due to be announced in June.
Pictured: H2o Director and Co-founder, Mark O’Dwyer. A recognised leader in sustainable design, Mark regularly shares his knowledge through award programs, seminars and study tours.






Revisiting a hidden Boyd masterpiece

Posted on Apr 27, 2021

H2o Director Tim Hurburgh had the pleasure of revisiting Robin Boyd’s only work in Tasmania, Linden House, for the latest edition of Houses magazine.

Located a short drive from Hobart, on the banks of the Derwent River in Plenty, Linden House is one of Boyd’s lesser-known works. Tim visited the current owners to discover the story behind Boyd’s re-imagining of a rural farmhouse.

Boyd and the original owners shared a passion for Japanese design and were inspired by the Derwent Valley’s all-timber oast houses. Boyd designed the house to be a magnificently scaled, multipurpose glazed pavilion that “floats” between the pool and the river. Linden House is still remarkably intact after nearly 60 years — right down to the painting of the front door in Boyd’s favoured semi-gloss forest green.

Thank you to Houses editor Alexa Kempton and Architecture Media editorial director Katelin Butler for the feature. Photography by Adam Gibson.


Boyd extensively re-imagined a rural farmhouse into a masterful composition of timeless elegance and simplicity. Visit Houses for a copy of issue 139 and discover more about the magnificent Linden House.






Yarra Ranges Civic Centre Redevelopment nears completion

Posted on Apr 16, 2021

Currently in the final stages of construction, we are excited to see our Yarra Ranges Civic Centre Redevelopment nearing completion.

The project involves extensive refurbishment and extension to the Council’s Anderson Street offices into a flexible multi-purpose centre. Located within Lilydale’s main street, our design enhances underutilised public space to create a dynamic new civic hub.

Working closely with Ziebell Landscape Architecture (ZLA), and consultation with stakeholders, working and community groups, we have created a welcoming and accessible design influenced by the Yarra Ranges natural bushland setting. Designed to meet high-level sustainability targets, the project involves comprehensive upgrades to outdated services and infrastructure, and includes new Activity Based Working for staff.

We look forward to seeing the completion of the new civic centre early next year.


Click the video above for the latest site updates from Johns Lyng Commercial Builders.






Fostering the next generation of architects

Posted on Apr 9, 2021

Last month, we were invited to co-host a construction design seminar at The University of Melbourne. Using our McKinnon Secondary College VCE Centre project as a case study, third-year students from the undergraduate Bachelor of Design program were tasked with delving into the complexities of the construction process.

Joined by TTW and DEVCO, students had the opportunity to ask questions at a two hour on-line forum and learn from the different project perspectives of architect, engineer and builder. Armed with a full set of drawings, surveys and images from the project, students are required to interpret the material and make a 3D model of a portion of the building.

Designed as a focal point within the McKinnon Secondary College campus, the project posed several construction challenges, including unexpected in-ground latent conditions and raked internal precast concrete walls providing planning flexibility. The project also sets a benchmark in educational pedagogies combining ground- breaking university style lecture theatre teaching with open plan learning; featuring both traditional teacher/ student classes and flexible learning, research and study spaces to support a dynamic contemporary and inclusive education process.

It is a privilege to invest in and share our knowledge with the next generation of architects, and we look forward to returning to class later this year to see their progress.

Spread over three levels in Vertical School format, the McKinnon Secondary College VCE Centre provides an important home base for the most senior year twelve students on this 2,000 strong campus, along with laboratories, and formal and informal learning spaces with various levels of openness.
Project photography by John Gollings.






Showcasing Australia’s best architecture

Posted on Apr 9, 2021

Last weekend we had the pleasure of showcasing two of our recent projects as part of the Australian Institute of Architecture Awards. In front of a panel of judges we presented our recently completed Montrose Primary School Gymnasium and Deakin KA5. H2o Director Mark O’Dwyer also presented UTS’ New Science Research Facility project as part of the NSW chapter of the awards.

The awards programme highlights some of the best architecture across the country, giving us an opportunity to share and celebrate our projects with a wide audience.

Thank you Tim, Vieri, Agatha, Vanja and Mark for all your efforts in presenting our projects, and to the H2o support team who helped put the presentations together.

The awards allow us to step back and acknowledge our hard work. We look forward to seeing all this year’s entries, along with the announcement of winners in June.

Montrose Primary School Gymnasium, presented to the judges by Agatha, Vieri and Tim. Our design for this much-loved primary school in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges creates an exceptional new facility. Photo by Trevor Mein.

Our Deakin KA5 project, a completely new, contemporary workspace, presented to the jury by Vanja. Photo by Kane Jarrod.

Presented by Mark, our recently completed New Science Research Facility for UTS meets the increasing demand for high-tech research space at universities. Photo by Tyrone Branigan.






New UTS science facility to attract world’s best

Posted on Mar 26, 2021

Our new Science Research Facility for the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has been featured in Architecture & Design. Described as a space for “big ideas and big breakthroughs”, the new facility meets the increasing demand for high-tech research space on the campus.

Completed in 2020, the new seven-storey facility is now up and running. Its purpose-built laboratories aim to achieve high-impact research at a globally competitive scale, generate greater engagement with industry, support student outcomes, and create a more attractive and engaging campus. 

We took an organic approach to the lab interiors introducing into the clinical uses a warm colourful identity mimicking ‘a new dawn’, rising in colour intensity at each floor of the building. Powder-coated UTS yellow flashes within window frames on the façade provide an energetic frisson – like a bolt of lightning.

Thank you to all contributors for making this project happen: our clients at UTS, Bryce Hutchinson and Jenny Tran and our collaborating architect Jesse Lockhart- Krause. Meinhardt (Sydney), Douglas Partners, Wilde & Woollard, Marshall Day (Sydney), CETEC, Philip Chun (Sydney), Architecture and Access, and last, but certainly not least, Kane Constructions (Sydney). Thanks also to the H2o team: Mark, Tim, Vanja, Antonio, Michael and Ahmad.

Photo by Tyrone Branigan.

“This facility provides them (UTS researchers) with new tools to continue their ground-breaking work. It will also be an additional drawcard to our campus, giving us capacity to continue to attract top-level researchers from all over the world,”
Patrick Woods, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Resources) of UTS.