National architecture firm Architectus plans to make Brisbane’s Valley Metro project breathable.
Their 23-storey commercial tower, which will “stitch” together different precincts within the metro area, is the first stage of the broader Valley Metro master plan. The plan is intended to “reinvigorate” the previously under-activated area by transforming it into a mixed-use precinct that incorporates retail, residential and commercial elements.
Architectus project architect, Shaun Schroter, tells A&D that sustainability was one of the major considerations for the tower. However, aside from targeting a 5-star Green Star rating, the main priority was the wellbeing of those using the area – from workers in the building to pedestrians moving within the precinct.
“What we’ve done is really drawn on and defined the line through the site as a prominent key access point that acts as entry to the precinct of the Valley Metro Redevelopment Project, defined by the station at the heart of the precinct,” says Schroter.
“[What we’re aiming for] is a mix-used regeneration of the area. Through our experience of multi-sector, we’ve been able to bring collective thinking, anchored with the knowledge of a sub-tropical climate, to deliver a commercial building that offers distinct large floorplate commercial space that’s aligned with Brisbane’s breathable building philosophy.
“[The design] allows you to get to external, occupiable space that connects to internal workplace hubs. This really speaks to contemporary office culture.”
It wasn’t just the regenerated space around the base of the building that was designed to be open and activated. Architectus also incorporated the ‘breathable building’ philosophy into internal office spaces.
On each floor of the building, a “breakout space” has been included. These are located on an axis to the side core entry to each floor, affording workers the opportunity to move in and out of the floorplate. On most levels, an external terrace is linked to the internal floorplate, with a rooftop garden proving extra opportunity to access light and fresh air.
“Obviously, this [rooftop garden] has spectacular views to the south, back towards [Brisbane] CBD,” says Schroter.
The ground level is just as active, and incorporates several communal spaces. Spaces dedicated to food and beverage also create “active connections” to Alfred Street and the corner of Constance Street, as well as connections back to the main retail and station precinct.
“The idea [is] that we’ve got the base targets of [a] green star rating covered. But the experience of the workplace is much more intangible, [and] we’ve tried to capture [that] through our understanding of various corporate clients.
“Workers aren’t just limited to engagement with workplace on a floor level, but [they also] have access to a variety of communal areas,” says Schroter.
The selected material palette is designed to reflect the existing “personality” of the Valley neighbourhood.
“You’ll see a lot of masonry and brickwork combined with some elements that start to travel through the typical floors, legible from the ground and public realm.
“Even though it is a commercial materiality, proportions have been modelled from existing streetscapes to set the rhythms of the architectural pattern-making of the façade.
“We’re aiming to generate a richer experience of the site through stitching together the different precincts and tying [the building] to the broader regeneration of the valley. It’s a real opportunity to reinforce the 24-hour activity nature of the precinct in a much safer, well-activated way.”