Those in the commercial design and development business might like to keep an eye on the successes of a new $14 million commercial precinct in Robina, Queensland that was developed to fill a so-called niche in the commercial market.

Designed by Dryhurst Stuart Architects (DSA), ‘CityPods’ consists of 15 office pods of varied sizes tailored to small to medium size business owners who are looking to move out of the traditional multi-storey commercial building and into alternative, stand-alone office spaces.

Working from a brief provided by The Robina Group (developers), DSA director Ed Dryhurst turned to a layout of scattered pods rather than a singular extruded building because he felt it better attracted those looking to be “different or edgy”.

“In the initial briefing stage The Robina Group had identified a need for smaller individual office suites as an alternative to traditional multi-storey commercial space,” says Dryhurst.

“We developed the idea of an office pod, which provides an office solution that touches the ground lightly, both figuratively and literally, respecting both the site and the environment.”

“Each individually designed pod is elevated over a relatively small ground footprint. This basic typology is developed into a series of striking dynamic forms, assembled in small, diverse groups.

“Vibrant colours assist in the sense of individuality and identity for the pods and together form a cohesive whole."

Dryhurst also notes that cost-effectiveness was strongly considered in the design stages and is seen in the project’s material composition.

The majority of the exterior cladding is James Hardie’s Scyon Matrix which was chosen by Dryhurst for its durability and smooth finish but also because its expressed joint finish meant a contemporary random pattern could be achieved in the fa├žade for a low price.

While the pods do feature a large amount of glazing, the architects said that their specification of  G James Glass & Aluminium’s Optilight HL129 meant a balance of thermal performance and light transmission could be achieved.

The building’s external shading hoods and screens—powder coated aluminium battens—and its operable windows also help reduce solar glare and maintain comfortable internal temperatures thereby reducing the reliance on artificial lighting and mechanical temperature control.

The upper storeys are framed in lightweight timber and steel to reduce the amount of concrete used and the walls and roofs of each pod are heavily insulated which DSA says will also reduce the load on their HVAC system (Daiken individual ducted split a/c).

Dryhurst said CityPods offers a funky and fun commercial property that is unique to the market.

"There is nothing else like these offices on the market,” he says.

“They fill the gap for those businesses who don't necessarily want to be based out of an office tower."