Hassell and Fitzpatrick+partners have designed Charter Hall Group’s latest unveiling, GPO Exchange – South Australia’s landmark newest commercial office tower.

Officially welcoming occupants from October, its two major tenants, BHP and the Attorney-General’s departments, occupyhalf of the 20-level building, according to a statement.

The prime office tower will sit alongside the restored heritage Telephone Exchange Building and has set a new benchmark for workplaces in South Australia according to Charter Hall.

“The building’s outstanding design and Charter Hall’s strong tenant customer relationships has seen the building attact high calibre tenants including BHP occupying 11,600sqm for 10 years and the South Australian Attorney General’s Department occupying 12,230sqm for 12 years.”

The building, which is 94% leased on completion, “provides challenges with regard to activating the street frontages of the building,” according to Fitzpatrick+partners.

“The building is characterised by solid facades with minimal openings to the street, and large solid to void ratios with respect to windows.”

“The focus of activation for the public realm is therefore predominantly within the site. Access points are treated as thresholds or portals into the precinct – the pattern of a Middle Eastern bazaar being used as a precedent.” 

Fitzpatrick+partners says internally, the levels have been raised to match those of the existing GPO and Telephone Exchange buildings as well as the adjacent Dexus Plaza to the north of the site, both to maximise the frontage that has level access and to create a large internal plaza space for entering the buildings within the development. Level differences are resolved through a combination of ramps and passenger lifts. 

“Within the site, the public realm has been designed to maximise opportunities for activation. Movement patterns, both existing and potential have been used to determine the placement of the more active frontages (retail and food/beverage).”

“These are typically located on the major thoroughfares into the site, with a concentration around where these thoroughfares intersect.”

“There are two main concentrations of retail frontage. The first is Exchange Place where the existing GPO and Telephone Exchange building will be opened up to the existing laneway and ‘trade out’ into this space.”

“The other is around the new atrium space around the northern face of the GPO where the rear of the GPO is opened onto this space.”

“The basement of the GPO is connected to the ground floor through a series of void spaces than provide visual and physical links from the internal plaza to the lower level spaces. This provides further opportunity for retail activity.”

“Post Office Place is envisaged as being the service lane for the development, fronted by mainly back of house functions, including loading docks and car park accesses. It will be designed as a shared use zone, with appropriate paving treatment.”

“Activation is achieved where possible through glimpses into the building by returning the Franklin Street retail in Stage 2 around the corner and partially into the laneway.”