Cities, worldwide, are looking at ways to integrate existing building stock for future use, over demolition. Apart from significant cost and time savings, this method also lowers the overall carbon emissions. Adaptive reuse of heritage structures is an effective method to honour the past and continue the legacy of these structures.
Global practice, Grimshaw has done precisely that in their new project 'Olderfleet', located on Collins Street in Melbourne. The new complex restores and combines three heritage structures, collectively known as ‘Olderfleet Buildings’ from 1889-90, with a 40-storey commercial tower.
The 165metre high-rise office building is set back from the heritage structure —connected through a 32-metre-high atrium on the ground floor level. This is Melbourne’s highest quality PCA premium grade commercial building, with 58,000 square metres of office and retail space.
Neil Stonell, Managing Partner at Grimshaw, had this to say, “We’re delighted that Olderfleet has been recognised globally as a preeminent office building. Its success is testimony to the collaboration and shared aspirations and commitment of our client, leading developer, Mirvac, the anchor tenant, Deloitte, and our broader design team to create an office building that focuses on the health and wellbeing of individuals and workplaces.”
Here Grimshaw combines new-age workspace design with quality third spaces, flexibility, and access to technology, creating a rich urban-community experience.
The experiential journey starts at the restored Record Chambers building entrance, leading visitors to the grand light-filled atrium. This large atrium provides an intriguing juxtaposition between the existing heritage fabric and exposed structural elements of the new commercial tower.
The atrium acts as a central gathering space, containing art displays, F&B and interactive historic digital displays, celebrating the history of the Olderfleet buildings.
The atrium also plays host to the artwork by Wolfgang Buttress, ‘Solar’, which responds to the real-time building data feeds of solar radiation.
The tower is split into three separate neighbourhoods through external terraces building upon the idea of ‘vertical village’ and responding to the specific tenant’s requirements.
The horizontal footplates are highly flexible, and the quality with the side-core arrangement allows an optimal level of natural light on all floors, creating a workspace that adapts — something we all experienced due to COVID-19.
To create an active, healthy workplace, outdoor terraces provide access to Nature and fresh air, while an internal staircase with quality interiors is designed to encourage circulation among employees. This is complemented by health stations for tenants and access to the building’s wellness centre, carefully selected interior materials.
Stonell continues, “Integrating state-of-the-art technology, sustainability features and amenities, Olderfleet is one of Australia’s leading smart buildings while integrating with its heritage setting.”
The building’s design targets 6-star Green Star, 5-star NABERS Energy, and 4-star NABERS Water ratings, and in 2018, Olderfleet became the first building in Australia to achieve Platinum WELL pre-certification for the base building – shell and core, and it’s soon to be one of the first buildings in Melbourne to achieve WELL Platinum Certification for the base building.
External solar shades and high-performance façade help minimise the energy demand of the structure. They have a centralised HVAC system with water-cooled chillers, high-efficiency condensing gas-fired boilers and LED lighting (3W/sq.m.), helping Olderfleet become energy-efficient.
There is also an 80-square metre green roof combined with an 80 KWp PV array on the 39 & 40 roof level, providing approximately 75 MWh/yr power, which is more than the energy demand of BOH areas.
There is also rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing from the roof in a 50KL tank, providing a 34% reduction compared to a standard practice benchmark.
Olderfleet provides a 42% improvement of the embodied carbon compared to a reference building of similar size. It is a masterclass for future large-scale adaptive-reuse projects, demonstrating best in class practices and sustainable strategies.
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Program: Commercial workspaces, wellness centre, childcare centre, dining, retail, business lounge, premium end-of-trip facilities, free health monitoring stations, and co-working spaces
Project type: Commercial
Area: 58,000 square meters
Site area: 3,899 square meters
Construction period: 2017-2020
Team: Neil Stonell (Managing Partner), Keith Brewis (Partner), Matthew Holloway (Principal), Timothy Cox (Associate Principal), Greg Pitts (Architectural Designer), Tom Chalmers, Rebecca Walsh, Matthew McDonnell, Gilbert Yeong, Malgorzata Haley (Associates), Nicholas Lee (Project Architect), Han Chua, Ashini De Alwis, Oana Chirvase, Tam Dao, Elise Fancourt, Paul Mak (Architects), Laura Harrison, Leo Robert, Gareth Servant, Laurence Dragomir, David Churcher, Adriana D’Amico, Roshani De Silva, Yasmine Majdi, Cecilia Martinez, Will Nguyen, Sara Sidari (Graduates of Architecture), Clare Fairey (Interior Designer), Benjamin Kampschoer, Alex MacDonald (Architectural Students)
Structural Engineer: AECOM
Services Engineer: Arup
Façade Consultants: Arup and Bollinger+Grohmann
Structural Engineer: AECOM
Interior Designer: Grimshaw with Carr
Building Certification: Du Chateau Chun
Traffic Consultant: Cardno
Wind Consultant: MEL Consultants
Fire Engineers: Irwinconsult/WSP
Heritage: Lovell Chen check
Grimshaw was founded by Sir Nicholas Grimshaw in 1980. The practice became a Partnership in 2007 and operates worldwide with studios in London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Dubai, Melbourne and Sydney.
Grimshaw’s international portfolio covers all major sectors and has been honoured with over 200 international design awards, including the prestigious Lubetkin Prize. In 2019, Founder Sir Nicholas Grimshaw was awarded the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
The practice’s work is characterised by strong conceptual legibility, innovation and a rigorous approach to detailing, all underpinned by the principles of humane, enduring and sustainable design.
Grimshaw is dedicated to the deepest level of involvement in the design of its buildings in order to deliver projects which meet the highest possible standards of excellence.