University of Melbourne Bio21 Stage 2C Advanced Microscopy Facility

View All Case Studies


Commercial more info


  • Lightweight
  • Mass
  • Value
  • Region
    Melbourne, Aus
  • Levels
    3 levels
  • Status
    In Progress

Wesbeam are assisting Bowens and Kane Constructions to deliver the University of Melbourne’s new Bio21 Institute Advanced Microscopy Facility at the Parkville Campus. 

The Bio21 Institute of Molecular Science and Biotechnology, abbreviated to the Bio21 Institute, is a multifaceted research centre. Accommodating more than 500 research scientists, students and industry participants, the Bio21 Institute is one of the largest biotechnology research centres in Australia. 

The $16 million project is in the third stage of development and consists of a new three storey mass timber laboratory building. Mass timber was carefully selected over concrete based on its sustainability credentials and capacity to create a very stable structure for the highly sensitive microscopy equipment that the building will house upon completion.

Kane's Project Director Paul Christian says, “The design constraints for cyro electron microscopes to be housed in the new facility are very strict in terms of permissible vibration allowances on the structure, and the building services requirements to maintain constant power and temperature control to the facility are onerous.”

The project has been designed by Architectus and Irwinconsult and utilises Australian manufactured Wesbeam LVL e-beam and e-beam [mass] products to support Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) floors. Wesbeam provided high level design advise to Irwinconsult throughout the early stages of the design for the structural mass timber beams that will support the floors supplied by XLam.

Beams sizes are typically 525mm x 150mm or 600mm x 180mm with several beams exceeding 12m spans. The beams were fabricated and delivered in less than nine weeks from order placement - a process and timeframe that no European supplier could match. This 9-week time frame included regular site meetings, assistance with engineering design, construction processes, shop detailing, sign off, fabrication and delivery.

This project is currently under construction and will reach practical completion in the third quarter of 2020. When complete, the new facility will include multiple new labs - one with passive EMI shielding, optical microscopy facilities - including the $10 million Titan Krios electron microscope, sample preparation rooms and mezzanine level housing office accommodation. Works also include the preservation of a heritage listed market wall, refurbishment of the historic Veterinary Research Institute Building, a new link to the recently completed Nancy Millis building and major infrastructure upgrades to support the entire new facility.

View our full range of LVL products and find out more about Wesbeam Tall Timber Building Systems.

  • Project in Progress
  • e-beam [mass]
  • e-beam [mass] and timber wall frames
  • e-beam [mass] and timber wall frames
  • Timber wall frames
  • e-beam and e-beam [mass] products to support CLT floors
  • Top floor with Wesbeam e-beam roof members
  • Top floor with Wesbeam e-beam roof members being installed
  • Existing heritage elements contrasting with the new steel column, LVL beam and CLT floor plate combination
  • Upper wall and CLT roof of Electron Microscopy room. LVL beams over
  • Detail of mass LVL beam before encapsulation
  • Detail of LVL mass beams creating irregular upper floor plan over and infill LVL elements for steel walk-way
Previous Image Next Image
Nov 11, 2019