Australian Unity271 Spring Street, MelbourneMelbourne, Australia

Australian Unity’s new head office space is designed to connect its people, the community and heritage through a sophisticated hub-style workplace across 16 storeys. A variety of indoor and outdoor spaces provide a collective focus on wellness and enable an agile, mobile and flexible workforce.

Accommodating a team of over 1,000, the 12,500 sq m office layout allows ease of movement between smaller spaces into larger social areas such as a café, retail zone, training and event areas including a showcase two floor amphitheatre. Each level is linked by an internal feature stairwell into multiple 3 storey ‘Villages’, physically highlighting connection and flexibility.

With a long history on the site, the existing and iconic Elms Family Hotel was incorporated into the overall building design. NDY worked closely with Bates Smart to remain sensitive to heritage elements, weaving an existing feature brick wall, metal pan tiled ceilings and feature staircase into the new build. For example, our design integrated new architectural and heritage walls so that power, communications and audio visual outlets could be inserted without disturbing existing features; whilst a new central plasterboard ceiling placed alongside the heritage ceiling incorporates new lights and sprinklers.

An innovative lighting design enhances the building’s architectural features whilst maintaining function. Consistent across levels, linear extrusions follow the central internal staircase and the underside of its hand rail, highlighting both lines and feature elements. With versatility and function in mind, meeting rooms include an array of lights that highlight each space whilst allowing users to easily transition between tasks such as presentations and workshops to more detailed activities such as reading.

NDY redesigned the building’s mechanical systems in collaboration with ProBuild, with concealed services to existing heritage areas a highlight. For example, services placed under floors so that heritage ceilings are not compromised.

Through expert and innovative attention to detail, the building achieves a strong synergy between technology, sustainability, modern architectural style and collaboration centric design. The outcome is a state-of-the-art space that meets our client’s vision, delivering flexibility and an exciting way forward for Australian Unity.

Architect:  Bates Smart

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