The refurbishment of Australia Post’s Headquarters in Sydney by Carr Design Group saw the transformation of an outdated postmodern aesthetic, rooted in the late 80s into a state-of-the-art commercial offering, which creates a new architectural statement and strong brand for the property.
Renamed StarTrack House, the refurbishment at Cleveland Street activates the landscape and the building forecourt through the introduction of an elegant glazed atrium, which provides protection to the new building entry but also defines a new architectural language to the site.
The atrium forms a colonnade of stainless steel columns. Each bay is glazed overhead by a shimmering interlay mesh of silver fabric, further filtering sun and glare into the building at the lower levels.
The design activates the landscape through the creation of ramps and terraces. This opens up the landscape and enhances the building’s connection to the street while creating universal access to the site.
The sculptural atrium provides a greater opportunity for the use of the forecourt by enhancing the public realm while providing occupants with wonderful outdoor spaces within which to develop working communities. The entrance now houses a café and retail spaces, which spill into the entry of the building, encouraging people to interact.
For the past two years, Carr worked closely with Australia Post to optimise its Cleveland Street headquarters. Director of Architecture, Chris McCue and Project Director, Claudette Leeming, investigated the site’s masterplan with a detailed brief to:
- Consolidate and design a new workplace for Australia Post and StarTrack that would see a greater focus on collaboration, innovation and connectivity
- Refurbish the base building to meet A Grade building standards
- Rejuvenate the site by providing greater access for all, and establishing an exciting new architectural presence
- Secure a 5 star energy rating
Working closely with Australia Post Chief Operating Officer Ewen Stafford, Carr looked at a range of options to ensure this landmark site would continue to be an important hub for Australia Post’s NSW operations.
“From the outset, Carr Design had a keen understanding of the brief and the importance of transforming this landmark building into a modern and sustainable workplace for Australia Post,” Stafford said.
“Our business is all about connecting people and supporting them with their communication needs. We wanted to create an environment that would facilitate connections – both within the building and with the surrounding community.”
In response to the brief, Carr looked at ways to refurbish the building so that it could be more engaging, provide greater thermal performance and house more efficient office accommodation.
The refurbishment of Cleveland Street building, now known as StarTrack House, activates the landscape and the building forecourt through the introduction of an elegant glazed atrium, which provides protection to the new building entry but also defines a new architectural language to the site.
All the glazing has been replaced to achieve thermal and energy requirements and external cladding re-finished to complement the new building identity. The redesign of the entry foyer now engages with the forecourt and provides areas to meet and congregate.
Interiors are refurbished throughout, with the introduction of new amenities including a ground floor cafe, and end-of-trip shower and change areas.
Working closely with Carr’s Director of Commercial Interiors, Dan Cox, Australia Post moved away from traditional offices in favour of a variety of shared spaces for collaboration and focused work. The expansive work floors led to an innovative neighbourhood floorplan, as each zone was given a different identity through the use of colour and graphics.
A unique approach to urban renewal, Australia Post serves as a superior example of how we can transform our city’s most important urban buildings to ensure greater longevity and usability.
From the outset, integral to the viability of both the base building refurbishment and the tenancy design, was our ability to lift the building’s NABERS rating 5 to 5.5, and confidence that the tenancy and base building could achieve a 5 Star Greenstar rating. Energy and environmental modeling were undertaken during project feasibility and it was clear the building and the project budget would achieve these targets.
The tenancy design on levels two and three have successfully attained a 5 Star rating. Receiving a 5 Star rating in round 1 of the submission (achieving 62 of a possible 70 credits targeted) the building received the Green 5 Star ratings in Office V3 Design, Office V3 Asbuilt, Office Interiors v1.1 and a 5 Star Nabers energy commitment agreement. We also ensured that 90 per cent of workstations are reachable by daylight, which surpasses the GBCA’s requirement of 60 per cent.
One of the main components of the new façade was the upgrade of the glazing system. Replacing the perimeter glass with high performance double glazed windows, the design significantly improves the thermal performance of the building envelope.
It is also a highly transparent façade and with its large atrium and legible structure, the building offers open and unobstructed views of the city.
Also key to the building was the creation of the largest solar array in inner-Sydney. The building has over 1,000 panels located on the roof.
The changes made throughout the refurbishment will reduce the building’s carbon emissions by around 2,500 tonnes per year, which is the equivalent to removing more than 500 cars off the road.
WINDOWS & CURTAIN WALLING
CSG China Southern Glass
Interpon, Powdercoat Cover Strip Finish
Glassworks, SEFAR Chrome Architecture Vision 50 per cent Open Mesh Glazing Panels CR140/50
Alpolic/fr Composite Wall Cladding
PAINT FINISH TO GRANITE
Armstrong, Dune Max Ceiling Tiles
Sapphire Aluminium Industries, Anodized aluminium in ‘Picholine’ blades
The Elton Group, Eveneer timber veneer in ‘Even Romano’
Alucobond Architectural, Dibond ceiling
Knauf, Danoline ceilings
Above Left Carpets, Senior Partner carpet tiles in ‘Keldon’
Signorino, Dublin floor tiles
Signorino, Kerlite Lappata
Forbo, Marmoleum Solo
MEETING ROOM WALLS
EchoPanel Woven Image Mura panel