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We have to do better than this

New ARUP office leads the way

02 Jul 2019

New ARUP office leads the way Image

An innovative Docklands office building running on 100 per cent green power has won the Australian Interior Design Award for sustainability advancement.

The office holds no chemical cleaners, rather stations that ionise water to use as a cleaning agent.

The ARUP Australia office at Melbourne Quarter opened last year. Designers HASSELL ensured the building focused on user experience from the very beginning – the entrance is through Melbourne’s first “sky park”.

“Every other space in Melbourne Quarter is entered through lifts, but to get into ARUP you enter through the sky park,” HASSELL design lead Rebecca Trenorden said.

A visitor is then welcomed at an unconventional front desk and signed in on an iPad. The space is immediately recognisable as open and fluid.

“It started with knowing ARUP as a client, knowing what they wanted to show from a cultural perspective but also a ways-of-working perspective,” Ms Trenorden said.

“So, it was really important from the initial arrival that it was disarming, it was about people interaction, and it was about a meandering. It wasn’t about a formal, intimidating front-of-house.”

The office follows ARUP’s signature “three-level” style, but manages to incorporate all three into one space – not three separate levels.

“From a client point of view, in our previous office the three floors we were on were very distinct and there wasn’t much connection between them,” ARUP workplace leader Cameron McIntosh said.

“So, for us it was about trying to make sure that we break down the barriers and maximise the collaboration across different parts of the business.”

“The main thing for me is having the choice to work the way I want to work. I’m someone who is quite open to chatting with everyone, really get my energy from interactions with other people, so I spend a lot of time working at the café.”

“But at the same time there are places I can hide away and get my head down if I really need to do that.”

The office café is a social enterprise called STREAT who train and employ disadvantaged youth.

The office has an expansive communal kitchen, stocked with salads and vegetables, and with ovens and stove tops. There are fitness rooms, big change rooms and showers and a maker’s lab.

All of this is a combined effort to maximise staff health and communications – so staff have to leave their own space and get around the office, can ride or run to work, work out and practice hobbies at work.

And the office was still within the “low to moderate” range of price tags for office fit outs.

“We focused our money and effort where it had most impact,” Mr McIntosh said.

“There’s a lot of focus on the places that impact on staff every day, where they have interactions is where we put the effort rather than super high-end finishes.”

“People ask me what my favourite bit is and my favourite piece is a cupboard.”

“That’s about the experience. If someone is coming in, a client or visitor, and they walk in with a bag our front staff can now say ‘can I take your bag and store it for you’.”

“It’s a cupboard, it didn’t cost much. It’s just thinking about the journey through the space and what’s going to have an impact.”

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