In a long-term collaboration between design and engineering, HASSELL partnered with Arup to create a workplace that invites people back, resonates with them, inspires them to reflect on their knowledge and, through increased connectivity, promotes the open sharing of ideas. 

The resulting workplace has created a new paradigm in flexibility, connectivity, sustainability and wellness.  Completed in September 2018, the tenancy is located within One Melbourne Quarter, Docklands and was awarded the Sustainability Advancement Award at the 2019 Australian Interior Design Awards.

The new Arup Melbourne Workplace sought to achieve the highest possible levels of sustainable design and was set an open brief initially to enable the design team to define the holistic and integrated exemplar sustainability opportunities including consideration of environmental, social and economic attributes.

The Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star framework was adopted given its holistic and varied criteria that is established in the industry as best practice with a target ‘World Leading’ rating of 6 star defined.

Further, the design team chose to adopt the WELL Standard rating system from the International WELL Building Institute due to its increased focus on indoor environment quality and importance on staff wellbeing.

The Arup Melbourne experience begins with a unique arrival to the building via the elevated Sky Park instead of a typical lift lobby.  This entry transforms how you move through and experience the space.  The garden design concept carries through into the workspace interior by way of planting, floor finishes and vistas.

Arup’s day-to-day active and innovative work culture is on show across multiple zones, visible through the voids and mezzanine levels.  While ostensibly spread over three floors, the workspace is disrupted by expansive voids with mezzanines inserted to create a cascading, terraced effect resulting in five separate levels. 

The inclusion of the voids required careful consideration with regards to thermal comfort and energy consumption, particularly when integrating with the base building (also designed by Arup).

Further to the voids and mezzanine levels, significant areas of the tenancy design were dedicated to wellbeing, amenity and experimentation spaces including an on-floor end of trip (in addition to the base building provision), activity centre, retreat/prayer room, first aid room, winter garden and various labs for experimental design, and a cafĂ© operated by STREAT, a Melbourne-based social enterprise providing direct support to disadvantaged youth. 

These additional spaces needed incorporating into the wider office, within the limited footprint available, requiring a considered approach to the internal environment quality including acoustic, lighting and air quality.  The partnership with STREAT is an example of the social sustainability consideration which was important to the project.

Smart lighting integrated into the “up” component of the up/down lighting solution features programmable tuneable white lamps which can adjust colour temperature to reflect circadian rhythm or, more interestingly, simulate external cloud formation internally. Clever lighting placement creates the appearance of volume and height like a warehouse in a traditional office building.  

This feature is an example of how Arup are using the fit-out as a testbed for new technologies and ideas to demonstrate best practice workplace design.

In addition, wholesale changes to firm internal policies relating to wellbeing and have been integrated meaningfully within office services delivery software to ensure the ratings are not just well-meaning intent but also implemented, reviewed and checked in operation.

The tenancy uses 100 percent green power as part of Arup’s commitment to sustainability, working towards being carbon neutral by 2020 and Arup is actively seeking to offset the remainder of emissions from transport, waste etc. 

The new Arup Melbourne workplace has become a benchmark project for the local workplace design industry and also the exemplar workplace within Arup globally.

Images: Supplied