Kerstin Thompson Architects and BVN Architecture transform Gothic Bank precinct into a 'city within a city' that will challenge long-held workplace conventions while delivering new retail, dining and public spaces.
The Queen & Collins redevelopment will integrate and transform three buildings on the corner of Collins and Queen Streets, delivering 35,000 square metres of A Grade office space to the market in Q2 2021.
The project will feature a series of explorable laneways and intimate courtyards, known as campiellos (‘Venetian little squares’), in tribute to the precinct’s existing Venetian-gothic architecture and with the intention of turning the traditional concept of the corporate lobby on its head.
It will involve a reimagining of the 34-storey former world headquarters of ANZ, to birth the ‘Queen & Collins Tower’.
Originally built in 1993, the building has been affectionately dubbed the Gothic Tower for decades because of its distinctive architectural features.
It will also deliver an upgrade of two heritage buildings: The Safe Deposit Building, located at 90 Queen Street, and 380 Collins Street, the former Stock Exchange Building, both significant examples of boomtime Melbourne architecture.
GPT’s architectural team have embraced the challenge of uniting the varied spaces within Queen & Collins by delivering a transformative yet sympathetic design scheme that will significantly upgrade the precinct while preserving the character of its heritage neighbours.
Kerstin Thompson, Founding Principal KTA, says central to the architectural vision was a revitalised entrance experience creating multiple ‘civic gates’ to the precinct and an intriguing ground plane that will incorporate a series of laneways and public squares to enable pedestrian movement and moments of pause.
“The transformed space will be the antithesis of the conventional corporate office block – eclectic and unapologetic, it will a celebration of its neo-gothic heritage, diversity of architectural characters and historic layers,” Thompson says.
“The ground experience will feature four campiellos, opening the site up to the city and transforming it from a fortress, to an open community – generous, vital and active.”
Ninotschka Titchkosky, Co-CEO BVN, says Queen & Collins would be a richly textured and diverse environment to promote discovery, curiosity and creativity.
“An eclectic yet single-minded selection of interior treatments and tactile inclusions will manifest a peculiar charm throughout the precinct, delivering an evolving experience, fine grain urban moments and an expressive, exuberant personality,” Titchkosky says.
A further signature inclusion will be a high-end restaurant occupying the trading floor of the former Stock Exchange Building.
Usually off-limits to the public, the beautiful anti-chamber space features soaring ceilings and stunning stained-glass windows.
Fund Manager, GPT Wholesale Office Fund, Martin Ritchie says the design team had created a ‘city within a city’ – an ecosystem of experiences that would invite exploration and passage through a series of connected spaces.
He says Queen & Collins would capitalise on emerging demand among rightsizing businesses for smaller, bespoke floorplates and thoughtfully designed, premium amenity that responds to changing workplace requirements.
“Queen & Collins will focus on providing flexibility and personalised service to help our tenants navigate what the future looks like for their business.”
“It will be a considered workplace responsive to the demands and opportunities of the new normal,” Ritchie says.
Currently under construction, the leasing campaign for the $238 million redevelopment has kicked off, with the project being touted as ‘an aberrant new workplace’ because of its eclectic design and innovative customer-driven approach, including tailored floorplates and access to a hotel-style tenant concierge service.
GPT Head of Office & Logistics, Matthew Faddy, says Queen & Collins would be a place for progressive corporates and innovators to foster collaboration, build culture and chart a successful future – where character is rewarded.
“Not your ordinary Melbourne precinct, Queen & Collins will feature elaborate design flourishes to create a lasting impression; it will be a bold reimaging, unapologetically modern while unlocking the best of its unique heritage qualities,” says Faddy.
The redeveloped Queen & Collins Tower will offer 1,300 square metre floorplates on podium levels and 900 square metre floorplates on mid-rise and high-rise levels.
To assist tenants plan their future workspaces, a progressive fitout concept dubbed ‘The Clubhouse’ has been developed, to be used as a starting point for floorplate design and layout conversations.
It has been conceived based on predictions that the future workplace will have a greater focus on connection, creating a sense of community and collaboration.
A bespoke collection of spaces known as The Mezzanine, comprising more than 1,000 square metres of bookable facilities for meetings and special events, will also be created to service building customers as well as the business community.
These extensive communal areas have been designed to provide versatile, hybrid spaces that will blend into semi-public areas, becoming the beating heart of the precinct alongside casual lounges and cafes, providing places for tenants to collaborate and be inspired.
The project’s premium amenities will include extensive end-of-trip facilities for showering and changing and private self-contained bathroom suites on each commercial floor.
Queen & Collins is owned by the GPT Wholesale Office Fund, which currently has 17 office assets valued at $8.6 billion under management.
The Fund is on track to achieve net zero carbon emissions across its Australian CBD office portfolio by the end of 2020.