COX Architects complete the ATO Headquarters in Canberra, Australia
The design of the Australian Tax Office Headquarters combines the civic character befitting a major government entity with a sensitive response to environmental and human concerns. This social agenda is addressed through visible environmental systems and the lightweight expression of the building skin, the warmth and tactility of materials, and the creation of an interactive workplace.
The nine levels of office space are located above a separate multi-storey retail centre also designed by COX. Rather than interfering with retail flexibility, the office lift core starts above these retail levels. Entry to the building is therefore a journey by escalator through a dramatic sequence of atrium spaces, including at the four storey Galleria space on the first office level. The Galleria is the heart of the building and a focal point of interaction between ATO staff and the public, with projecting and freestanding meeting pods, staff facilities and informal lounges. Generous office floorplates of approximately 2,900m2 permit high levels of efficiency and fitout flexibility.
Canberra’s weather fluctuates between very hot in summer and very cold in winter. The expressed façade systems have been tailored to block summer heat but allow access to warming sun in winter by incorporating fixed external sunshade louvres that vary in density and type in response to orientation. In addition to maximising energy efficiency to achieve a 4.5 star Australian Building Greenhouse Rating level this approach maximises tenant comfort on the perimeter and allows for more transparent glazing.