The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre

The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre


The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) is a unique and ambitious endeavour. A New Centre on a landmark Melbourne site, in a famous bio-medical precinct. The centre brings together new project partners in a collaborative work environment for world-leading research, education and clinical activities.

The new design is to be symbolic and representative of the bringing together of these project partners, of the creation of new networks and clusters of collaboration. The building will have an imagery that is expressive of optimism and progress. The key public building on a key Melbourne axis will acknowledge and make evident our collective endeavour to gain mastery over cancer. The centre will provide hope, health and wellbeing to all Victorians.

This new building will be instantly recognizable, both locally and internationally. It will be easy to access. The building will be surrounded by colonnades, retail facilities and high-quality materials to create an intriguing and delightful pedestrian environment and will greatly contribute to the public realm in Melbourne. The generous central atrium is a key element in the design and it will immeasurably enhance the internal environment of the centre. The atrium space will also not only provide light and wayfinding throughout but will be the focus of formal and informal collaboration and interaction for the staff and users of the centre.

Head of the consortium is Plenary Health, builder is Grocon/PCL & the architectural design team is Design Inc and Silver Thomas Hanley in partnership with McBride Charles Ryan.

June 2016
Grattan Street, Melbourne

Australian Institute of Architects Victorian Chapter Annual Awards 2017
Winner – Victorian Architecture Medal
Winner – William Wardell Award for Public Architecture
[GOV] Design Awards 2016
GOLD Winner – Interior Design category
GOLD winner – Hospitality & the Commercial category



The spiraling gesture of the curved architectural form was tested through engineering analysis to minimise wind effects and assist in self-shading the atrium roof, providing an optimum of daylight in the core of the building without increasing heating or cooling loads. The role that sun shading plays in achieving the VCCC’s energy targets is another core aspect of the design and is evident in the public image of the building. Sun shading is provided throughout and its angle and spacing are determined in accordance with the orientation and viewing requirements of the activities of each façade. The north-facing laboratory clusters, for example, are shaded by closely spaced medium-depth horizontal shades. This limits the direct ingress of solar radiation and minimises the occurrence of direct sunlight on bench tops throughout the year. Deeper fins placed on the diagonal shade the western orientation, providing an optimal response to solar angles and accommodating seasonal variation. In the in-patient units, rolled metal sunshades minimise the ingress of direct sunlight while maintaining the maximum possible outlook.


The VCCC building is a new home for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and features new cancer research and clinical services for Melbourne Health (including The Royal Melbourne Hospital), cancer research facilities for The University of Melbourne and new education facilities.

A key feature of the building is the central atrium. Light-filled and extending up through the centre of the structure, the atrium is an intuitive wayfinding solution and will assist visitors and staff to orient themselves and navigate the building.

Clinical floors are located on the lower levels of the facility, making the patient’s journey via stairs or lift simple and direct.

At the lower levels, the material richness and colonnade express the VCCC’s concern for engaging with the public realm. Detail is increased, with textured and patterned perforated metalwork, polished and profiled precast concrete panels, glazed brickwork, and sculpted ‘digitally fabricated’ FRP colonnades. The innovative engagement with industry-lead to the fabrication of the colonnade elements directly from 3D digital files was complex. The result is that these elements link the various elements in a language of continuous form and a unified whole that extends through all scales of the enclosure and into the internal public realm.