Roderick (Rod) Ian Macdonald

Rod Macdonald was an innovative architect and driving force behind many of the great post-war modern buildings in Melbourne. He graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Melbourne in 1948. The following year, a scholarship changed his outlook on architecture.

In 1949, Rod won the Haddon Architectural Travelling Scholarship, which allowed him to work as an architect in London for a while. The impact of this scholarship and overseas stay on his entire career and legacy was significant, and proved to be an important stepping stone in what was to become a most successful career.

Rod became a partner of Eggleston Macdonald & Secomb (EMS), later Eggleston Macdonald, and then Eggleston Macdonald DesignInc. The firm was responsible for designing a number of key buildings on Parkville campus, amongst other notable national campuses. In 1954, EMS gained the commission for the Beaurepaire Centre at the University of Melbourne. The Beaurepaire Centre led to further work at the University. Following the 1970 Master Plan, EMS worked on a large number of major projects on Parkville campus, shaping the University of Melbourne's architecture like few other architectural practices. In addition to the projects pictures further below, EMS designed Computer Sciences (now the School of Computing and Information Systems), Zoology and the Plant Physiology Laboratory & Glasshouse (now part of the School of Biosciences).

Eggleston Macdonald & Secomb were responsible for a number of early important buildings that involved graphic structural expression, including the early Bendigo Creche and Day Nursery (1958), Clyde School (1958), Beaurepaire Tyre Service Station, Bendigo (1958). In following years, EMS rose to prominence with many major educational, health care and large industrial and commercial projects, including the award winning core ten steel-framed BHP Melbourne Research Laboratories, Mulgrave (1969) and later BHP Tech Mgt Centre.

The firm's considerable reputation in educational building design gained them commissions at other tertiary institutions from the 1960s to 2000s, including Monash University (eight major projects), La Trobe University (six major projects), Australian National University (ten major projects), Newcastle University, Caulfield Institute of Technology, Melbourne Teachers' College, Ballarat TAFE and four other TAFE colleges. At Monash University they designed the Robert Menzies School of Humanities (1963-73), the David Derham School of Law and the Alexander Theatre (1965). In the early 1990s the firm changed its name to Eggleston Macdonald, and in 2001 it became part of the Australia-wide practice DesignInc.

Significant other large projects included RACV Headquarters, the State Bank Centre (now Commonwealth Bank Centre), Epworth Hospital, Glaxo Pharmaceuticals, CSIRO projects and the Geoscience Australia headquarters (ACT).

Rod’s awards included a Heritage Commendation for the Beaurepaire Centre and the BHP Research Buildings No 1 & 2, as well as a Centenary Medal for service to Architecture & Planning.

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