Perth's newest precinct

Wednesday 31 Oct 2012

Hassel's new commercial office tower forms the centrepiece of a human-scaled public realm

Brookfield Place is a project that had to successfully integrate two key design drivers. The first was a high rise commercial tower to enclose a high efficiency, high performance workplace. The design response integrated workplace and architectural design from the project's inception. The second was an integrated ground plane to create a range of diverse, human scaled spaces that reintegrate five of Perth's finest heritage buildings within a new mixed use city precinct.

Brookfield Place was designed in line with the aspirations of BHP Billiton to provide a flexible collaborative workplace for its people, a workplace where knowledge sharing and collaboration are the cornerstones of a modern blue chip resource company. This desire resulted in a commercial tower design that deliberately leveraged connectivity on many levels - the physical open plan spaces are supported by a range of specialised collaborative meeting spaces that range from traditional enclosed rooms to various informal casual settings.

The spaces are linked by generous stairs and voids and are technologically enabledto allow employees to choose the most appropriate setting for any given task. With these aspirations driving the tenant requirements, the architectural response developed an offset core floor plate arrangement to ensure an open floor space was unrestricted by a traditional centre core. The side core floor plate arrangement led to the design of an external superstructure to brace the slender tower form whilst creating a distinctive, clear building expression well suited to the major tenant.

The east west orientation of the tower then allows uninterrupted southern views to be shared amongst all building occupants. A high performance facade presents a narrow width to the undesirable east and western sun, a key platform of the integrated sustainability strategy that has secured a 5 Star Green Star and 5 star NABERS energy rating. The offset core then further protects the enclosed space by buffering the facade from adverse northern sun and the associated solar heat gain. The offset core features glass passenger lifts to activate the northern facade whilst permitting dramatic northern views for building occupants waiting in the lift lobbies.

This project builds on the growing evolution of high performance, workplace led commercial architecture. The process is driven by the productivity benefits a high performance workplace can achieve and sees an architectural expression developed in direct response to a relevant workplace strategy. The commercial office tower is also the centre piece of a newly activated, human scaled public realm that has established a new city precinct. The new precinct successfully merges a unique group of heritage buildings into a new human scaled series of activated landscaped streets and squares.

This urban setting has re-established the dignity of the historic buildings and allowed them to be revitalised and celebrated as part of a newly re-activated central city precinct. The project delights in the juxtaposition of the modern and historic, utilising the public realm to merges the new and the old, creating a series of spaces that compliment the surrounding urban environment. Above all, the development has created a series of people places that have been embraced enthusiastically by the citizens of Perth.

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