Robert Blackwood Hall Monash University

Tetra Tech’s High Performance Buildings Group provided architectural lighting design by overhauling all public lighting areas and incorporating energy-efficient LED lighting for Monash University.


  • Size: 1,598 seating capacity, 1,980 square meters (21,312 square feet)
  • Construction Cost: AUD$47 million (USD$31.96 million)
  • Client/Owner: Monash University
  • Architect: William Ross Architects
  • Contractor: ADJ Electrical Contractors
  • Completion Date: 2016


As one of Australia’s premier tertiary learning institutions, Monash University has many world-class facilities. The most renowned facility, however, is the Robert Blackwood Hall, which also is Melbourne’s most prestigious performing venue outside the central business district. Tetra Tech’s overhaul lowered the facility’s energy cost, improved lighting performance, and maximized lamp life in luminaries located in difficult-to-reach locations, all of which improved the comfort and wellbeing of all users and occupants.

The lobby’s new lighting design sets the tone for the rest of the hall. From the very moment people enter the space, they feel as though they are attending a significant performance, as they move from the dusk-like comfort of the space to the brightly lit artworks that are selectively placed throughout the area.

Another highly functional design feature provided was the dimming system. The house lights in a performance space needed to be adjusted smoothly and precisely to ensure the audience has the ultimate experience. The design incorporates red, green, blue, and white light to produce a dazzling array of colors, as well as the expected warm white house light, slowly fading through warmer hues as it dims. Even the house lights become a part of the performance—the colors can be cued into the expected themes or styles of the performance, raising audience anticipation as an unexpected saturated color tonality completely changes the look of the interior.

The most pivotal design provided was streamlining the light controls. Integrating the stage light with the house light systems allows the lighting effects of the entire hall to be operated from a single location, improving the efficiency and quality of the crew operation. This comprehensive visual update brings the dim, 1970s venue into a bright, vibrant future, creating an elegant performance space for many years to come.

Image courtesy of Monash University


Lighting Design