Located between the CBD and major universities and in a nod to Melbourne’s now-famous laneway culture, Crone Architects has designed a new headquarters for the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation (ANMF).

Kieran Gleeson, Crone Director & Melbourne principal says, “Our design response focused on air and light quality and acoustic performance while retaining a visual and physical connectivity between the diverse functions of the organisation.  Our aim was to reinforce engagement with the surrounding streetscape and community thereby echoing ANMF’s inclusive and nurturing ethos.”

The 10-storey building’s exterior features vertical fins that evoke a sense of movement and play with the undulating pattern creating a soft, gentle facade of an otherwise solid structure. Importantly, the fins help to provide solar shading and reduce glare thereby boosting the environmental performance of the building.

The interior is divided into three distinct areas – conference, education and workplace – with spaces designed to be flexible, changing from social spaces into informal teaching spaces with operable walls and divisible boardrooms.  At the centre of the building is a four-storey void with a dramatic staircase providing a sculptural link from the ground up through to the education levels.

The staircase is a ribbon of light, the design inspired by the lightness and organic nature of a ribbon of gauze, which in turn inspired the perforated balustrade.  At night the lit stairs appear to twist and move while casting a glow through the central void and adjacent spaces.”

“We have incorporated environmentally sustainable principles throughout the development such as orientating the building core to the north, centred within floor plates to open up natural light penetration and city views while meeting rooms are strategically located around the core returning light-filled perimeter space to users,” Gleeson says.

“The facade of vertical fins provides solar shading to assist in ESD performance and reduce glare while internally, the feature staircase encourages movement via stairs rather than elevators.”

On ground level, a 400-seat auditorium is highly visible to visitors as they enter the building, featuring faceted timber walls and ceiling that draws the eye towards the central retractable screen and stage while providing a high level of acoustic performance. 

"A skylight to the rear allows daylight to permeate and gently illuminates the front of the stage, ensuring the space is vibrant and animated,” he says.