Breaking from the traditional conservative image

Brown Consulting is a national civil engineering practice that moved into its Marcus Clarke Street offices to cater for expansion of the company in Canberra. In making the move Brown’s wished to break the traditional conservative image of civil engineers through the design of an innovative and flexible working environment.

The new office of 1000m2 accommodates 50 staff in an open plan studio environment, with only the senior manager occupying an enclosed office. The heart of the office is the break-recreation space where staff congregate for morning tea, lunch and informal meetings. This is separated from the studio spaces by built-zones of meeting spaces and utility areas.

Built-zones are planned at right angles to the external window line so that studio spaces have good access to natural light and views. The open plan studio spaces are equipped with Schiavello Eco workstations that are designed with a flexible back-bone permitting flexibility of workstation layout. Freestanding tables fit into the back bone system allowing individuals to tailor their work environment to suit individual needs.

Conference spaces are located close to the reception area for ease of visitor access. The materials chosen for the offices are simple. The walls are painted plaster board enhanced with a filigree of graphic patterns in white brown and green. Workstation components are factory painted in white and desk tops in off-white. Freestanding acoustic screens are covered in a pale grey fabric.

Accent colours are used on task chairs and visitor chairs. Bench tops in the break out spaces are white reconstituted stone. Emphasising Brown’s “green” credentials, “green” planter walls are used in conference spaces.

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