National Australia Bank—Gateway to the Docklands

Tetra Tech’s High Performance Buildings Group discusses how the National Australia Bank building on 700 Bourke Street has been purposefully designed to be recognized as a 'world leader' in green building design and construction by achieving a 6 Star Green Star rating for Design and targeting a 6 Star Green Star rating for As Built.

The result is a 40 percent reduction in energy consumption and a 50 percent reduction in water usage compared to a typical office building.

Standing at the gateway to the Melbourne Docklands, 700 Bourke Street represents a fitting transition between the traditional central business district and the emerging and future-designed western fringe of inner Melbourne. With the interconnected motility of the 6,000 National Australia Bank employees in mind, the demanding brief stipulated a minimalist design that facilitated mobility of office space and prioritized sustainability.

As design and sustainability consultants, Tetra Tech’s High Performance Buildings Group focused on the principle of less is more—using fewer construction materials, less furniture, fewer fittings (featuring polished concrete floors and exposed ceiling cavities), and most importantly, minimizing energy and water usage.

The result is a 40 percent reduction in energy consumption and a 50 percent reduction in water usage compared to a typical office building. These and other sustainability initiatives have contributed to the building being awarded a 6 Star Green Star design rating and a 5 star NABERS rating. This set the standard for Docklands’ development and paved the way for the future of office sustainability.

Contributing to reduced energy consumption is the eye-catching 476-foot-high, city-facing façade, designed by Woods Bagot to reduce the heat load on the air conditioning, as does the North-West-facing lift core. Highly efficient thermal glazing, along with thermal insulation in the walls and in the roof, make an additional energy-saving contribution.

The reduction in potable water usage was a major contribution to achieving the Green Star rating, achieved through water-efficient fixtures and fittings, and a 26,000-gallon tank in the basement, which stores rainwater collected from the roof for use in flushing toilets and landscape irrigation.

The 14-story atrium connects the occupants and fills the entire building with natural light, creating a consistent energy across each floorplate. Unique stairwell design connects 10 floors vertically while a series of crisscrossing bridges provide a horizontal circular path to encourage incidental conversations among occupants. Every square foot is both attractive and functional, providing an enormous variety of collaborative or quiet workspaces to empower employees to work in a way that best suits them.

Everywhere you look reveals an engineering consideration, whether in extensive use of recycled and natural materials, Australia's largest passive chilled beam installation, or the fissures in the façade to increase natural daylight. These features reflect the relentless ingenuity of engineering solutions that have elevated this building to its world class standing today.

Image courtesy of Shannon McGrath Photography