Some of the most interesting examples of green innovation are those that transform the environmentally unkind into a beacon of eco-friendly sophistication. Such was the challenge dealt to Bligh Voller Nield in designing the headquarters for Sydney-based Stockland. Their solution recycles an existing structure into a cutting edge workplace so successfully that it received the Milo Dunphy Award for Sustainable Architecture in this year’s NSW awards.
In creating the plans for the new office, the BVN focused on the health of the environment, but did not neglect the details that would make the office a happy working environment for the company’s employees. For example,
- Carbon dioxide emissions are reduced 20 percent by powering the office through co-generation, which uses gas to produce energy via a turbine.
- Ventilation and air distribution was increased using a high-efficiency variable air volume system.
- Access to natural daylight was optimized by designing the office in such a way that light would be able to filter in.
- Use of non-toxic materials in the paints, carpets, sealants and furniture were used to protect both the environment and the employees.
- A wireless communication system clears any possible clutter of wires.
- The office is outfitted with bicycle storage and small car spaces to encourage employees to integrate an eco-friendly attitude into their lifestyles.
All levels of the office were constructed around a vertical stairway to provide a greater sense of connection as well as ample amount of visibility between each floor. Communal spaces are clustered around the center of each floor and include functional office spaces such as meeting and project rooms in addition to spaces that promote social interaction such as café benches.
It’s inspiring to see an adaptive reuse that considers its employees well being as well as the environment’s. Managing Director Matthew Quinn states: “Recycling an existing building by designing a leading green workplace is arguably the most sustainable development solution and one of the biggest challenges for the industry”.