Hassell’s work in reinvigorating Computershare’s HQ in Melbourne is the first project the practice has created with the post-pandemic workplace in mind. The new office space looks to invite collaboration and versatility, with the entire workplace catered towards the 9-5 in the wake of COVID-19.
The practice prioritised social spaces and flexibility to support a structural business change being undertaken by the IT company. As opposed to the traditional business model that saw two thirds of space utilised for individual work, Hassell have flipped the office on its head, with two thirds of the space now designated for collaboration and social connection.
“Underpinning the design is the desire for the Melbourne team to learn, connect and collaborate. As the global headquarters of Computershare, there is a strong emotional connection to the site and we honed in on the company’s aim to reconnect with this by creating an amazing place that their people want to be in, love coming to and working in,” says Evodia Alaterou, Workplace Design Strategy Leader and Principal, Hassell.
Located within the city’s historic Yarra Falls Spinning Mills, Computershare’s HQ connects with the former industrial suburb of Abbotsford, as well as with the banks of the Yarra River.
“Our Melbourne location plays a special role in the history of Computershare, which has grown from a small start-up to a global organisation across 21 countries,” says Computershare’s Global Chief Information Officer Mark McDougall.
“It is the place where a lot of employee innovation, tenacity and creative thinking, so crucial to our global success, happened. We wanted our history, heritage and location to help redefine the office as a global centre for inspiration and creativity within the company for years to come.”
The building was previously utilised as a wool mill and was erected in the 1980s. The refreshed space, consisting of three levels, is imbued with natural light which is filtered throughout the building via a large central skylight. Distinct zones, each with its own identity and function are unified by a central social space designed for connection and drop in working.
“A central 14-metre-long steel bridge acts as a connecting device between the social heart and the work areas, mirroring the bridges in the surrounding parkland that connect social space with the surrounding urban environment. Symbolically, it also connects with history and place, with the form drawn from the weaving processes of the mill,” says Hassell Principal Dan Cox.
Many of the settings throughout the office are furniture based, which enables adaptability and flexibility. The pieces have been designed and manufactured by local companies Derlot Editions, Caon and Didier. The internal materiality mimics much of the building’s exterior, with concrete, timber and blockwork reminiscent of the immediate streetscape and context.
Hassell’s first project specifically designed for post-pandemic worklife puts human connection and collaboration at the forefront. Through ensuring the Computershare DNA remains respected and highlighted, the new workspace has been elevated through the implementation of thoughtfully designed furniture and the expertise of the internationally acclaimed practice.