Returning a former naval base to the public after being approached by the Harbour Trust, Lahznimmo Architects and ASPECT Studios have adaptively reused a number of elements and subtly altered the HMAS Platypus site to increase accessibility and amenity.
The site was formerly a gasworks and before then a naval base. It has been closed for more than 150 years until the Harbour Trust decided to reinvigorate the space with Lahznimmo and ASPECT taking into account the physical, environmental, heritage, cultural and aesthetic constraints.
The brief provided to the practices asked for the site to be opened for public access through the creation of a public waterfront promenade and park, improving connection between the site and conserving the history of the space through retaining as many elements as possible.
The embodied energy of the existing buildings was retained, with lightweight walls utilised to divide the buildings for different tenancies that hasn’t disrupted the floorplates. Environmental performance of the building fabric has been improved through inclusion of insulation, and passive ventilation through cross ventilation and large ceiling fans.
Accessibility has been enhanced with new linkages at opposite ends of the site in the form of an overwater pedestrian bridge as well as new public stairs climbing the cliff face. Minor interventions improve accessibility and orientation and take their cues from the structural materiality of the industrial buildings.
New public domain spaces improve orientation and permeability across the width of the site, as well as providing places to breakout. Some of the built fabric has been carefully removed to make way for the Gateway Plaza, Arrival Square and Razzle Dazzle Courtyard.
The renewal of the HMAS Platypus Naval Base provides much-needed commercial and public space in an area experiencing major commercial growth. The work conducted by Lahznimmo Architects and ASPECT Studios maintains the initial character of the site, without disregarding a clear need for functionality.