RMIT University

RMIT Super Labs


Inspiring, inclusive, and high-tech environments for STEM research and learning

At BKK, we had the pleasure of designing a cutting-edge remote sensing lab and two innovative BYOD (bring your own device) super labs for RMIT’s School of Computing Technologies. These contemporary learning spaces were creatively repurposed from three existing spaces across two buildings to foster an inclusive and high-tech learning environment.

RMIT’s primary goal was to maximise the use of the super labs to accommodate more students and create an inclusive environment that attracts a diverse range of learners, moving beyond the traditionally male-dominated field of computer science.

RMIT University
Melbourne, VIC
Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung
Big Picture Thinking

Refurbishing existing building stock can present various challenges. We began by understanding the building structure, services, and regulatory requirements. This strategic groundwork ensured informed design decisions and prevented unexpected impacts on the program or budget. Our rigorous space planning maximised every square meter, and our strategic approach to staging and procurement ensured smooth delivery. Sustainability was a key focus, and we aimed to minimise waste throughout the refurbishment process.

Collaboration and Humility

Collaboration with diverse stakeholders was essential. We engaged with faculty leadership, user groups, audiovisual and ICT representatives, RMIT’s design leads, project managers, and the internal design review committee. We also coordinated with sub-consultants, including audiovisual, acoustics, DDA experts, a building surveyor, and an Indigenous artist.

Our engagement with user groups identified opportunities for space efficiency. During initial meetings, we addressed concerns over space constraints in the remote sensing lab by facilitating detailed reviews of space usage, ensuring all stakeholders felt heard. This collaborative effort resulted in a flexible and efficient space plan that built trust and met user needs.

The project required complex coordination with technical experts and specialist consultants. Effective collaboration was crucial, given the low ceiling-to-ceiling heights and technology-rich environment, to ensure appropriate electrical servicing, regulatory compliance, and maintaining a strong design aesthetic.

We seamlessly engaged Solid Lines, a First Nations-led illustration agency, and collaborated with Melbourne artist ENOKi, a proud Dja Dja Wurrung and Yorta Yorta multimedia artist.

Playfulness and Innovation

Our interior design concept drew inspiration from colour theory and a vibrant palette championed by the Dean of Computing Technologies. We avoided the bland colours typically associated with IT spaces, instead using oppositional colours to demarcate spaces within the super labs, which can be divided to suit teaching requirements. The light and bright palette is reflective and warm.

ENOKi’s work adorns the glazed dividing wall between the super labs and breakout spaces, incorporating visual elements inspired by First Nations craftsmanship and science. The glazing allows natural light to penetrate the corridor, featuring various breakout spaces.

An exposed ceiling painted black allowed us to push services into available pockets of space covered by an attractive acoustic ceiling grid. Our material selection focused on durability and sustainability, choosing suppliers and contractors committed to reusing or recycling demolished materials.

Leadership and Advocacy

BKK Architects strive to maximise opportunities for Indigenous knowledge and engagement in projects.

This aligns with RMIT’s values and guiding principles for inclusion, diversity, equity, and access. As a co-founder of the RAP Reconciliation Industry Network Group, we have promoted Solid Lines’ services to the wider architecture and design industry, helping create further opportunities for First Nations illustrators.

The lessons learned during the materials specification process will inform our practice’s new refurbishment specification protocol, supporting ongoing waste-reduction initiatives.

Transformative Places, Holistic Benefits

Reusing existing buildings and minimising waste contribute to RMIT’s and the architecture and design industry’s goals to lower carbon emissions. These spaces are designed for ease of maintenance and future adaptability.

This vibrant and engaging learning environment attracts students to the RMIT city campus and appeals to a diverse demographic. The new super labs set the scene for cross-collaboration between schools and new forms of digital interaction.

Our work on the RMIT Super Labs exemplifies our commitment to insightful, joyful, and inclusive design, creating functional, innovative, and uplifting spaces for all.


RMIT University






2022 – 2024


Melbourne, VIC


Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung