Materials Science and Engineering: leading research and teaching

The University recently completed a major project to build an extension to the Physical Sciences precinct and provide a new home for Materials Science and Engineering and an extension of the facilities for the Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre. The Materials Science and Engineering Project (MSEP) provides new infrastructure for the University to build on its position as an Australian leader in materials science engineering and research and related physical sciences.

The project was appointed to leading architectural firm Grimshaw, following a design competition between five short-listed architectural firms. Grimshaw’s winning design clearly expressed the importance of research and learning spaces by placing laboratories and research within the core of the building, serviced by a central spine of reticulated services. This design ‘future-proofs’ the building by allowing expedient reconfiguration of laboratory spaces. The new MS&EB will also include administrative spaces, teaching and learning spaces, workshops, display spaces and research areas. 

The $145 million project was completed in June 2015. 

  • Award – Educational Architecture, Australian Institute of Architects’ 2016 NSW Architecture Awards.
  • National Commendation - Educational Architecture, Australian Institute of Architects' 2016 National Architecture Awards.
  • Winner - Tertiary Buildings (over $50mil), Master Builders NSW Excellence in Construction Awards 2016. 

  • Increase the School’s international reputation in materials engineering research
  • Celebrate "material science on display" with a collaborative, practical and aesthetically pleasing space for students and researchers to study and work
  • Implement appropriate sustainability initiatives to ensure a resource-efficient and adaptable building.


Key design features
  • Laboratory spaces form the heart of the facility and are transparent, where possible, to reveal the work of the scientists inside
  • The labs are surrounded by a habitable "skin" of meeting rooms, offices and study spaces
  • The MS&EB will be nine stories high, totalling approximately 20,000 square metres including basement and ground floors. Three levels of the building are being delivered as cold shell laboratory space to allow for future growth of surrounding schools such as chemistry.


Project Contacts

UNSW Senior Project Manager
Eddie Swat, email: