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    BVN brings biophilia to Brisbane for new Fortitude Valley commercial tower

    Nathan Johnson

    A new development in Brisbane’s Fortitude Valley aims to become an exemplar of 21st century workplace design.

    Designed by BVN, 301 Wickham Street is a 25 storey commercial tower fit with 36,194sqm of office space, a ground floor cafe, a gymnasium and child care facilities. But while the building could well become a reference for quality mixed-use design in Brisbane, its BVN’s deep commitment to the principles of biophilic design that gives the building its vanguard presence.

    The architects say that 301 Wickham will become Australia’s first tower to genuinely incorporate biophilic design into the actual make-up of the tower, and they quoted the widely circulated Human Spaces Report: Biophilic Design in the Workplace document as source for their inspiration.

    That make-up includes an operable louvred façade, configured to support the introduction of natural landscaped elements into tenant floors, and a massing strategy which accommodates and articulates from a publicly-accessible park and vegetated-slab edge on the building’s podium.

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    301 Wickham Street facade is configured to support the introduction of natural landscaped elements into tenant floors.
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    A public accessible park will be located on top of the northern corner of building’s podium formed by cutting an incision out of the soffit of the commercial tower


    BVN’s design closely follows the assertions in the Human Spaces report  which suggests that there is an innate connection between humans and nature which is increasingly being recognised as a key consideration when designing and developing workspaces.

    301 Wickham's office spaces will articulate from sky gardens which will be located in staggered voids situated around the building’s perimeter. The gardens and louvred façade will provide fresh air for occupants while the staggered voids are designed to improve visual connection of multiple floors thereby connecting workers within a tenancy and providing better opportunities for people to connect in the shared garden spaces.

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    Off-set or staggered voids will also improve visual connection of multiple floors thereby connecting workers within a tenancy and providing better opportunities for people to connect and collaborate more effectively

    The idea of incorporating nature into the built environment through biophilic design, according to the report, is now considered a sound economic investment into employees’ health, well-being and performance. But while BVN may claim to be the first to allow the concept of biophilic to (at least partially) dictate the design of an Australian building, they aren’t the first to acknowledge its potential as a productivity tool.  

    Just recently, a six-metre high, breathing green wall was installed at Lendlease’s new global headquarters at Sydney’s Barangaroo and media releases from the construction heavyweight claimed that the wall was installed to benefit the health and wellbeing of their employees.

    By the same token, biophilia is becoming a real buzz word in the aged and healthcare design sector as findings from academic studies show that access to nature can have a profound effect on occupant well-being and health.

    The Royal Children's Hospital by Bates Smart adopts biophilic design elements throughout the building including a large-scale atrium aquarium. Similarly, the recently completed $187-million South East Regional Hospital in Bega, NSW is planned entirely around a central landscaped open space which promotes an easily navigable environment injected with landscape and nature.

    301 WICKHAM IN SUMMARY

    VALUE ADD

    • 30,000sqm of A Grade 5 star GBCA rated Office NLA featuring large floor plates and side core
    • Separated podium and tower – creating a distinct podium “Street Building”, enhanced light ingress and views to and from the park and at street level
    • Cafés, gymnasium and childcare centre to support tenant wellness and promote community within the development.
    • Significant integrated landscaped areas at both street, elevated ‘podium’ and roof levels

    ESD

    • Integrated vertical gardens / balconies to the tower office facade
    • Ventilated façade with occupiable balconies and roof garden -“The Crown”, to enhance the Valley skyline with “A Living Green Building”

    BRIEF ELEMENTS

    • 30,000sqm of A Grade 5 star GBCA rated Office NLA
    • 25 storey commercial building
    • Commercial, Gym, EOT, Childcare, Gallery Mezzanine and Cafe tenancy spaces
    • Landscaped podium
    • Landscaped roof and trellis structures
    • 139 Carpark spaces
    • 200 Bicycle rack spaces

    Images: BVN

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