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.






Montrose Gymnasium in the spotlight

Posted on Mar 19, 2021

We are pleased to see the new gymnasium at Montrose Primary School officially open for business. Gaining some well-deserved recognition, the project has been recently featured in Architecture & Design and the local Mount Evelyn Star Mail newspaper.

Our design for this much-loved primary school in the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges creates an exceptional new facility.

“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

A special thank you to all staff and students at Montrose Primary School, and to the design and construction team: Hive Engineering, Fryda Dorne & Associates, Kinban Building Consultants, Ziebell Landscape Architecture and the builders – Switchco. At H2o, thank you Tim, Vieri, Agatha, Teresa and Kate.

Photo by Trevor Mein.

Entered into this year’s Australian Institute of Architecture Awards, the Montrose Primary School Gymnasium. The gymnasium features a full competition grade basketball court with spectator seating, storage and change rooms.






New projects and awards kick-start our 2021

Posted on Mar 5, 2021

It has been a busy start to 2021 for the H2o team, with several of our projects entered into this year’s Australian Institute of Architecture Awards, including the new high-tech Research Building for UTS, 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.

Also entered into this year’s awards is our recently completed Montrose Primary School Gymnasium, an exceptional new facility for a much-loved school and its community. 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 final entry is Deakin KA5, 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.

Awards winners are due to be announced June 2021.


Thank you to Architecture & Design for recently featuring our Montrose Primary School Gymnasium project. With a confident new street identity, our core idea was to respond to the character of the Dandenong foothills. We eschewed a typical skillion roof for an asymmetrical ‘broken back’ ridge, running in the short direction to reference the billowing landscape. Photo by Trevor Mein.



Our Deakin KA5 project, a completely new, contemporary workspace. 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.



Our recently completed New Science Research Facility for UTS meets the increasing demand for high-tech research space at universities. Our design approach adopts a theatrical, engaging, and inviting research environment, the outcome delivering purpose-built research laboratories to achieve high-impact research at a globally competitive scale. Photo by Tyrone Branigan.







New plant accelerator projects for medicinal cannabis

Posted on Feb 4, 2021

Since 2010, when we completed Australia’s largest research greenhouse, the award-winning University of Adelaide Plant Accelerator, we have been specialising in the design of high-tech scientific facilities. Facilities that include plant research into drought, heat, salt tolerance and increasing yield: food security in a changing climate.


So it comes as no surprise to us that plant accelerator projects for medicinal cannabis have come our way. As recently announced, low dose cannabis oil can now be bought over the counter at pharmacies; our clients have a head start on the industry through this medicine that is shown to help reduce anxiety, pain and post-traumatic stress disorder.


The Age: ‘We know it works’: Cannabis oil firms chase approvals as over-the-counter sales are legalised



The University of Adelaide Plant Accelerator is able to process 160,000 plants per year.