The Emily McPherson Building

The new home for the Graduate School of Business and Law

Photo: The rejuvenated façade of the refurbished Emily McPherson Building.

The rejuvenated façade of the newly refurbished Emily McPherson Building.


Corner Russell and Victoria Streets, Melbourne

Project overview

The heritage-listed Emily McPherson building opened in 1927. Originally known as the Emily McPherson College of Domestic Economy, the Emily McPherson building became the centre of home economics teaching in Victoria.

In 1979, the Emily McPherson College amalgamated with RMIT and the repertoire of programs that were taught in the building expanded to fashion, textiles and food science.

Read more about the history of the building.

The Emily McPherson building – also known as Building 13 – is being refurbished to accommodate the College of Business Graduate School of Business.

The Ethel Margaret McPherson wing will also be renovated at a later date with works beginning in 2009.

The Emily McPherson building will also be fitted out with commercial conference facilities and will open its doors to the wider community to host forums and seminars.

The Emily McPherson building has all of the features of the neo-classical architectural style. The imposing façade, with its elevated portico and Doric columns will be rejuvenated and will be the doorway to a state-of-the-art learning and teaching facility.

The grounds surrounding the Emily McPherson Building will also undergo landscaping in a two-stage process.

Building features

  • Learning and teaching spaces customised for corporate and executive education
  • Two lecture theatres and five classrooms
  • Flat-floor flexible space for teaching/events
  • Multi-purpose hall
  • Catering facilities
  • Hybrid student lounge designed for teaching and socialising
  • A glazed, ground-level street at the rear of the building
  • New rooftop level that contains a board room, hosting room and classrooms
  • Cutting-edge multimedia technology
  • Painted façade of building


Stage 1. Landscaping of the grounds flanking Russell Street and the Emily McPherson Building entrance

  • Granite screenings to the base of the building
  • Granite steps that accommodate building level change
  • Environmentally sustainable, artificially turfed lawns
  • Bluestone edge wall to perimeter of the artificially turfed lawns

Project timeline

Early works began:

October 2007

Major works begin:

October 2008

Completion date:

July 2010


Architect and Heritage Consultant

Lovell Chen

RMIT Project Manager

David Straw and Jamie Nicolson

Manager, Client Relations

Tony Metherell

Main Contractor

Hooker Cockram Projects Limited

Building Services Engineer

Norman Disney and Young Consulting Engineers

Building Surveyor

PLP Building Surveying Consultants Pty Ltd

Quantity Surveyor

Slattery Australia Pty Ltd

Structural Engineer

Beauchamp Hogg Spano Consultants Pty Ltd

Landscaping Consultant

Rush Wright Associates


Dig frees jail ghost

Herald Sun, Friday, 26 September, 2008

The original foundations of the Old Melbourne Gaol have been unearthed, giving a rare insight into the primitive conditions prisoners endured in the 19th century.

[Next: Gallery 1]