Lab Architecture Studio

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LAB Architecture Studio was a firm of architects and urban designers based in Melbourne, Australia with international offices in London and Shanghai.[1]


Peter Davidson[2] after graduating from Bachelor of Architecture in 1980 from the NSW Institute of Technology, Sydney, moved to London in 1981 where he became editorial assistant for the journal International Architect. Whilst running his own practice for ten years, Davidson was also teaching at various institutions, including the Architectural Association School of Architecture where he met fellow design director of LAB Donald Bates. Davidson suffered a severe stroke in 2010 and has no involvement with Lab Architecture Studio.[3]

Donald Bates[4] completed his bachelor's degree of Architecture in 1978 from the University of Houston, Texas and received his masters of Architecture in 1983 at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. Bates was the associate architect to Daniel Libeskind for the Berlin: city edge competition entry as well as the Berlin Museum extension Competition entry, now also known as the Jewish Museum Berlin. After business partner Peter Davidson suffered a severe stroke in 2010, Bates was accused of forgoing his partner's physical, emotional and financial well-being. Quoted in The Age, Nina Libeskind referred to Bates' "Cynical opportunism and expediency".[3] In 2012 Bates was appointed chair of architectural design at the University of Melbourne.[5]



International awards[edit]

  • Mipim AR Future Project Awards (2008) commended
  • FX International Interior Design awards London (2003) Best Museum category
  • Cityscape Architectural Review Awards (2007) Commercial Built + Community Future Categories - Shortlist
  • Kenneth Brown Award Hawaii (2003) Commendation for Asia Pacific Architecture
  • Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence: Asia Pacific USA (2005) Best Public Project
  • The Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Awards USA (2006)


Australian awards[edit]

  • RAIA National Award (2007) - International Architecture
  • RAIA National Awards (2003)
  • Interior Architecture Award
  • Walter Burley Griffin Award for Urban Design
  • RAIA Victorian Awards (2003)
  • Victorian Architecture Medal
  • Marion Mahony Griffin Award for Interior Architecture
  • Melbourne Prize (2003)
  • Joseph Reed Award for Urban Design
  • New Award Australia
  • Interior Design Awards Australia (2003)
  • Australian Institute of Landscape Architecture (2003) — Award for Design Excellence
  • Dulux Interior Colour Award (2003)
  • Public Domain Award (2003) For Sustainability
  • Governor of Victoria Export Awards Commendee (2005)
  • Property Council of Australia — Victorian Division Australia (2005) — State winner of 2005 and Best Public Building
  • MBA National Building & Construction Awards (2006) — Export award under $25m
  • Australian Stone Architectural Awards — Best Civic Project (2006)

Notable projects[edit]

Federation Square[edit]

Completed in 2002, Federation Square is situated on a 3.6 hectare corner site bound by Flinders and Swanston Streets in Melbourne, Australia. With a building footprint of 45,000 square metres the precinct incorporates commercial, civic and cultural programs.[6] Along with a wide variety of restaurants, bars and cafes and retail spaces larger institutions represented include the Ian Potter Centre (NGV), the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Melbourne headquarters for SBS Television and the Melbourne Visitor Centre.[6]

In 1997 an international design competition was launched by the Victorian Government with a focus of creating new civic space for Melbourne, connecting Flinders Street to the Yarra River and enhancing the cultural attributes of the city. Five designs were shortlisted from the 177 entries. The winning design of Bates Smart Architects and Lab Studio Architects was announced in July 1997.[citation needed]

The main plaza can accommodate up to 25000 people.[6] The outdoor amphitheatre plays host to a variety of festivals and concerts as well as broadcasting cultural events such as the annual Tropfest and sporting events such as the AFL (Australian Football League) Grand Final.

Federation Square was met with widespread disapproval, the architects receiving hate mail from people who loathed the design.[7]

Mixed-use and offices[edit]

SOHO Shangdu[8] Beijing, China (2004–07) Site area: 2.2ha Gross floor area: 170,000m2 Type: commercial, residential + retail

Riyadh Business Center[9] Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2005) Site area: 3.9ha Gross floor area: 87,000m2 Type: offices, hotel, retail

Tatweer Towers Dubai (2006) Site area: 7.6ha Gross floor area: 1,500,000m2 Type: commercial offices, residential, hotel + retail

Zovie Towers Tianjin, China (2007-) Site area: 2.7ha Gross floor area: 223,710m2 Type: commercial office, residential, retail, hotel + business club

Guardian Towers[10] Abu Dhabi (2007–09) Site area: 0.7ha Gross floor area: 50,000m2



  1. ^ a b c "Lab architecture studio".
  2. ^ "Interview with Peter Davidson on". Archived from the original on 2011-03-04. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
  3. ^ a b Coslovich, Gabriella (7 December 2011). "Once were partners: architects' spat goes public". The Age. Retrieved 20 February 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ "Lab architecture studio bio on".[full citation needed]
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c Federation Square: Lab Architecture Studio,, 28 April 2003. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  7. ^ Carly Crawford, 'Federation Square named among world's ugliest buildings on Virtual Tourist website', Herald Sun, 23 November 2009. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  8. ^ SOHO Shang Du: Lab architecture studio,, 11 October 2004.
  9. ^ Riyadh Business Center: Lab architecture studio,, 24 April 2006.
  10. ^ The Guardian Towers: Lab architecture studio,, 4 June 2007.

External links[edit]