It's no secret that cool, comfy workplaces make for more productive employees, so we're guessing the people who go to work everyday at this vibrant office in Melbourne, Australia must be incredibly fruitful. Originally built in 1889, the Goods Shed building stood derelict for over 30 years before it was transformed into the bright, spacious workspace you see above by BVN Architecture in 2009. In addition to being a shining example of renovation and adaptive reuse, featuring many of the building's original features like high ceilings, clerestory windows, exposed trusses, cast iron heritage columns and exposed brickwork, Goods Shed North is also Victoria’s most sustainable historic building - if you need proof, check out its 5 Star Green Star (Australian LEED Certification) rating.
The clients, VicUrban and Building Commission & Plumbing Industry Commission (BC/PIC) are both known for their commitment to the environment, so they wanted their new workplaces to walk that walk that they talk. Accordingly, preference was given to building materials that have eco-friendly content, low embodied energy, recycled content, minimized volatile compound content, and minimal amounts of PVC content.
In addition, they tried to use less new material, and reused many of the heritage elements from the existing site. For VicUrban, old doors taken out of the shed were cleaned and hung as cool backdrops in the reception area and original slate salvaged from the roof was cleaned and hung as a feature wall. Even old tracks were recycled as fun decor details, and in BC/PIC, an old railway switch from the Shed is now on display at the entrance. Of the other products used, black steel and recycled timber made up a large part and rubber/eco-vinyl flooring in lieu of carpets enhanced the ‘warehouse’ aesthetic.
“The refurbishment of the Goods Shed North will raise the bar in environmental design by creating an economically feasible sustainable design, incorporating state-of-the-art office accommodation in an historic building,” Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden said.