Draw the Line
The Architecture of LAB
Study model of atrium structure 1998
balsa wood
90.0 x 97.0 x 7.0 cm
Courtesy of LAB, Melbourne
Photo: Dieu Tan

Draw the Line: the Architecture of LAB presents the process of architectural design through the material of the Federation Square NGV archive together with LAB’s subsequent projects. It explains how architects think about their designs and how concepts and processes become realised as architecture. The exhibitionl consists of conceptual material, working drawings and models.

The evolution of Federation Square will form a large part of the exhibition and will be seen in the broader context of LAB’s other projects and how they have dealt with issues of civic space, spatial order and organisation, materials and complex geometry and institutional space and the city. The exhibition illuminates the way that each of LAB’s projects evolves from a set vocabulary of conceptual approaches, such as filaments, embedded voids and networked organisations. It shows how these organising principles are used to unite different architectural and programmatic elements into coherent projects.

About LAB


LAB architecture studio was founded in 1994 in London, by Donald L. Bates (born Texas, USA) and Peter Davidson (born Newcastle, Australia). Both architects had backgrounds in academia and had practiced individually.

When LAB won the competition to design Federation Square in 1997, it was their first building project. The firm relocated to Melbourne where they remain based today, while also maintaining offices in London, Shanghai and Dubai.

LAB aims to create an architecture concerned with relationships rather than objects, designing for maximum social exchange and spatial permeability. Their design techniques are also characterised by the use of repeating and non-repeating patterns as an organising principle that unites different architectural and programmatic elements into coherent projects.

The early design work and architectural concepts for Federation Square are displayed here, covering the development from the first stage of the competition through to the final realised form. The exhibition also includes a selection of LAB's work since Federation Square. LAB's recent projects have included residential and office buildings in China and the Middle East, civic spaces in Tbilisi and Dubai, and a museum in the UK. These projects continue to expand on some of the design principles utilised for Federation Square, such as fl exibility of use over time, innovative building form, complex organisational planning and experimental facade systems.


18 Jul 200913 Sep 2009 The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square
Twentieth – Twenty-First Century Australian Art (Gallery 15), Level 3, NGVA
Twentieth – Twenty-First Century Australian Art (Gallery 15), Level 3, NGVA