A renovation to the rear of an existing office space in the old Rosella factory in Richmond, Melbourne, has been highly commended at the 2014 Sustainability Awards under the Office Fitout category.

Designed by MAKE Architecture, the project was praised by the awards judges for its flexible design and making the most out of a small footprint.

“This refurbishment of dis-used space in the warehouse to create casual breakout and larger meeting spaces shows why we should not take any space for granted,” the panel said.

“Clever design of furniture and meeting room enclosures using curves, colour and the natural beauty of sustainable timber, makes the most of some tight spaces that have enriched the life in the office for the occupants.”

Re-configuring the existing space naturally presented more challenges than designing within an empty site, but this allowed the architects to respond with flexible solutions that could adapt over time with the needs of the agency.

The resulting design, which sees a large, colourful curved wall wrap around the presentation room, encourages a less formal way of working, with benches and seats lining the perimeter of the space, looking out to the street and existing plane trees. Spaces are made intimate, without being traditional office areas closed off to their surrounds by walls.

The project complies with mandatory requirements in terms of BCA section J, and surpasses them by creating an office space with access to natural light and air, that encourages a more sustainable work culture. Staff, allowed to engage and take active breaks, will benefit from this greater balance and social sustainability.












Key initiatives:

  • An adaptive re-use project where the existing warehouse is largely kept intact, meaning lower embodied energy for the project
  • Materials selected for their environmental quality. Recycled timber featured throughout, with dark stained FSC certified plywood used for the flooring, and FSC certified timber veneer for the joinery. Paints are low VOC, as was the particleboard for the joinery.
  • User operability encouraged to control temperature and light, with LED lighting
  • Whilst sustainable practices of adaptation and re-use were important, so were notions of sustainable working practices for the staff. This was encouraged with more fluid and flexible workspaces to get away from your desk and take a break

Photography by Peter Bennetts

Click here to see all the winners and commendations for 2014. You can also view articles on all the finalists in the Office Fitout category here.

Check out all 70 finalists in the interactive video below: