Girish Mahajan (Editor)

189, Frank Tate Building

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Status  Complete
Architect  Percy Edgar Everett
Architectural style  Art Deco
189, Frank Tate Building httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu
Type  College Academic Building
Location  Parkville, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Similar  Baldwin Spencer Building, Baillieu Library, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Old Physics Conferen

The Frank Tate Building, also known as building 189, is a Student Centre in the University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Designed by Public Works Department Chief Architect Percy Edgar Everett, it was built in 1939/40 as an expansion of the Melbourne Teachers' College, housed in the grand '1888 Building' to the south. In 1994 the Melbourne Teachers College relocated and the building became part of the main Melbourne University Parkville Campus. It was refurbished as a learning centre by Cox architects in 2010, designed to allow a multitude of different user groups to configure the space according to their individual requirements.



The building is a notable example of the Art Deco style, combining horizontal massing (now obscured by the raised north plaza), with details emphasising the vertical, all in cream brick with pale cream painted rendered detailing. The T shaped plan is broad at the south end, where the windows are grouped vertically in panels featuring narrow almost Tudor vertical ribbing, similar to the earlier Chemistry building also by Everett, and bold curved glass brick corners. The long north wing has a semi-circular end, and is subdivided by projecting vertical piers, like stylised Gothic buttresses.


On completion, it was named in honour of Frank Tate, following his death in 1939. He had been the first Director of Education in Victoria (1902 - 1928), and was a tireless reformer, including reform of the training of teachers at Melbourne Teachers' College (also known as the Melbourne Training School), on this site since 1888.

As part of the construction of the Brutalist style Education Resource Centre to the west in 1968-70, a large plaza was created at first floor level surrounding most of the northern wing of the building, allowing the expansion of the ground level of Frank Tate Building under the plaza. This effectively submerged the north end, altering an appreciation of its features, and resulted in the creation of multiple entrances at different points and at different levels by added steps and ramps.

The building was refurbished in 2008-2010 by COX Architects & Planners as Melbourne University’s Eastern Precinct Student Centre aiding students in the undergraduate science programs. This involved the opening out of the southern half of the first floor to form a student lounge, and a lift was also introduced to the refurbishment in order to allow first floor access aiding the handicapped.


The ground floor consists of main study areas, the Performing Arts Studio, Learning Environments Special Labs, and a collaborative workspace. The first floor consists of a Learning Centre, seminar rooms, project spaces, IT Pit Stop, a Learning Atoll (four linked rooms), and a Printing Station.

Awards and Performance firsts

The Learning Environments Spatial Lab in the Frank Tate Building has been honored with prestigious design award. This learning environment at the University of Melbourne have been honored by the Victorian chapter of the Council of Educational Facilities Planners International (CEFPI), an international organization representing educators, architects and designers involved in creating improved learning environments. The Learning Environments Spatial Lab, in the Frank Tate building, which won the award for ‘An Education Initiative or a Design Solution for an Innovative Program’.


189, Frank Tate Building Wikipedia