Tetra Tech’s High Performance Buildings Group provided interiors, mechanical, electrical, plumbing (MEP), fire protection, fire engineering, security, audiovisual, communications, architectural lighting, and acoustics services for Medibank in Melbourne, Australia.
- Size: 46,500 square meters (500,522 square feet)
- Construction Cost: AUD$80 million (USD$54 million)
- Client: Medibank
- Architect: Hassell (Integrated fitout and base building)
- Contractor: Montlaur Project Services
- Completion Date: 2014
Melbourne’s Docklands’ landscape is a constantly shifting, evolving model of urban renewal. In just twenty years, the former wetlands and derelict shipping port has evolved into a prime precinct for leisure, retail, and commercial activity. You need only gaze south from Spencer Street to witness the remarkable changes to the city’s skyline reinforcing Melbourne’s rise as a city of international scale.
The latest building to join the rising landscape is 720 Bourke Street, the new headquarters for Medibank. With neighbors including The Age at Media House, Places Victoria at The Goods Shed, and National Australia Bank at 700 Bourke Street, this latest Docklands addition is in good company.
The Cbus Property development at 720 Bourke Street consolidates Medibank staff from six offices around Melbourne into one efficient and sustainable workplace. The new building enables activity-based working (ABW) allowing greater collaboration and efficiency. Medibank Place is a healthier workplace promoting physical and mental wellbeing that supports Medibank’s vision for better health purpose.
Tetra Tech was commissioned as the services consultant across the building’s commercial office fitout and integral to the service design was a focus on meeting Medibank’s objectives for a flexible, inspiring, and productive workplace.
“From the outset, Medibank was very clear about their vision for the project,” says Tetra Tech Mechanical Manager Eugene Wong. “In collaboration with the lead interior designers, Hassell, we were part of a team which developed innovative design solutions that made the work environment functional, comfortable, flexible, and sustainable. This new development will support Medibank and its employees well into the future.”
720 Bourke features approximately 46,500 square meters (500,520 square feet) of A-grade modern office space and central to the fitout is the incorporation of ABW principles. In contrast to the traditional static workplace layout, ABW is a flexible working model which allows for a choice of workplace settings around different activities.
Research has shown that activity-based working improves staff effectiveness and productivity by allowing staff to customize their work environment.
The design team worked with Medibank’s requirements for a flexible workplace by designing the building services to suit a range of distinctive workspaces—from open and collaborative spaces, to quiet rooms for privacy, and social lounge areas for more informal staff interaction. The ABW design allows for flexibility and comfort for staff to work in a way that meets their personal needs, while they remain connected and engaged.
The building design allows for an abundance of natural light, but the artificial light has been designed to play a key role in workplace health and comfort. Tetra Tech designed the lighting throughout the tenancy in collaboration with the interior designers from Hassell and the Medibank team. “The specific intent was to create a different, unique workplace," explains Nic Burnham, Tetra Tech’s light designer. “We looked at the functional light as would normally be calculated on a desk, but there was an emphasis also on also the ambient visual environment. We achieved this largely through the integration of extensive indirect lighting in conjunction with a unique and exciting architectural color palette.” A fundamental driver behind the lighting selections throughout the project was the use of LED sources. Virtually all lighting elements that were not retained from the base building design are LED.
The focus on sustainability is evident throughout the building and the thriving internal environment works in harmony with the buildings refreshing facade. Approximately 10 percent of the building’s facade consists of lush vertical greenery, achieved with external plantings attached to ledges and a wire trellis system. This soft landscaping theme is carried throughout the building and includes a communal garden which provides a place of tranquility for Medibank staff, customers, and clients.
Cbus Property has delivered an impressive building that not only reflects Medibank’s business ethos, but also enables their workplace to thrive. This has been achieved through the seamless integration of the internal and external environments. Targeting a 6 Star Green Star Design and a 5 star NABERS rating, the building is on track to join the highest concentration of Green Star rated buildings in the southern hemisphere.
Images © David McArthur - Parallax Photography