Macquarie University Michael Kirby Law Building

A Modern Makeover to Support Future Generations of Law Students


Macquarie University


Sydney, Australia



Year Completed


Project Value

AU $60M





Designed by Hassell, the new Macquarie University Law School is a flagship building for the university. It is located on a prominent central-campus site currently occupied by the existing Law School building. The building is sited in pristine bushland, which the architects have sought to reflect in the structure and materials.

As an adaptive re-use project, the design aims to retain as much of the existing building as possible, utilising and adapting the existing structure and enlivening it for future education and workplace needs. New mass timber insertions include cantilevered atrium boxes (in timber), an atrium grandstand and timber circulation stairs. The integrated photovoltaic roof and a lightweight composite steel truss also contribute to the building’s sense of light and space.

As mass timber is such a key element in the building Holmes developed several likely fire scenarios through 2D thermal analyses of the structural elements (beams, columns and slab) under exposure to the agreed design fire. Our detailed analyses enabled us to develop Performance Solutions for all timber members including bespoke connections and penetrations. Our assessment and interpretation of the proposed materials and structural elements under varied fire conditions enabled the design principles of flexibility, community, connectivity and sustainability to be realised.

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