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SW1 MELBOURNE STREET, SOUTH BANK
by Cox Rayner Architects & Planners

    

IN THE ARCHITECTS WORDS

OUTLINE SW1 MELBOURNE STREET is stage one of a mixed office, residential and retail precinct between Melbourne and Russell Street. Being designed by 5 architects at Cox Rayner's instigation, the precinct is organized by a longitudinal pedestrian spine to which SW1 MELBOURNE STREET forms a breezeway entrance between two ‘interlocking' office buildings. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK This project is significant in three ways. Firstly, it transforms the ‘speculative office' building – the bane of the cities – into architecture. Secondly, it integrates the building type into a vibrant public realm that embodies urban subtropicality, and thirdly, it informs others how Design and Construct processes can be managed to produce architectural quality. PUBLIC + CULTURAL BENEFITS SW1 MELBOURNE STREET pioneers the first public activity centre linking South Bank and West End, and is the catalyst for Melbourne Street to realize its potential on the cross-city axis from Fortitude Valley to West End. RELATIONSHIP OF BUILT FORM TO CONTEXT The design explores the potential of tactile materials – insitu and precast concrete, and recycled wharf timber – to engage a tough austere urban context through depth, transparency and geometry. Interlocking the buildings facilitated integral form to counteract the presence of Brisbane Convention and Exhibition centre and to generate a continuous public realm along the street as well as into the future SW1 precinct. Deployment of a limited range of materials and elements, diversely expressed, enabled us to mediate scale by continuity of materials from façade to base, by interrelationship of roof form to that of canopy over the
 
 

public realm, and by insertion of a pavilion into the high-volume breezeway connecting the main elements. PROGRAM RESOLUTION + FUNCTIONAL PERFORMANCE While the brief basically called for large flexible floor plates to optimize speculative office market demand, as has been created, two fundamental added market strategies were introduced by the architects, both simultaneously to the benefit of the public realm. The first was to ‘craft' the buildings in raw materials and climatic response that might appeal to a niche market of environmentally responsive companies, and the second was to incorporate public vitality at street level to attract firms that rely upon public engagement. This strategy generated intense competition for the buildings, the major tenant being Colorado and Roche Mining. RESPONSE TO CLIENT + USER NEEDS Refer to above strategy. Other benefits included the incorporation of multiple outdoor terraces that open up the conventionally ‘sealed' office typology to the public realm outside. COST / VALUE OUTCOME The development's GFA/m2 construction cost was $1,450/m2 which compares with the current average for office buildings up to 10 levels of $2,050/m2 (Rider Hunt). The value is both strong tenant demand and popularity of public realm. SUSTAINABILITY The project imparts environmental sustainability through calculated orientation and façade articulation, minimized trades and materials, roof and canopy extensions, breezeway, balcony and horizontal slab extensions, and high performance glazing. ALLIED DISCIPLINES The most significant was Hutchinson's willingness to properly collaborate under true Design and Construct ethos.
 
DETAILS

Location
South Brisbane, QLD
Architect
Cox Rayner Architects & Planners
Contact address:
Project Team
Project architect: Carol Brubaker
Design architect: Casey Vallance
Project manager: Project Strategies
Structural consultant: Robert Bird Group
Civil consultant: Robert Bird Group
Electrical consultant: Lincolne Scott
Mechanical consultant: Lincolne Scott
Hydraulic consultant: Steve Paul & Partner
Landscape consultant: Gamble McKinnon Green
Acoustic consultant: VIPAC
Quantity consultant: Mitchell Brandtman
Builder: Hutchinson Builders
Design Director: Michael Rayner
Project Director: Peter Hale
Master Planner: Richard Coulson
Architect: John Negus
Architectural Technician: Mark Shay
Architectural Technician: Aidan Murphy
Interior Designer: Michelle Mitchelle
Architect: Allan Bakewell
Building surveyor: KFM Partnership
Entered
2007


Photographs by Cox Rayner Architects & Planners, text by Cox Rayner Architects & Planners

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