It is a surprisingly rare opportunity that one is able to develop the design of a commercial building, where the end users are the owners. Often the contrary will result in a development where compromises are more easily considered as the person paying the bill will not have to endure the implications of these decisions on the end product. This project afforded us the opportunity to work closely with the various owners of the building as well as the future tenants, as they were one and the same.
The development of the brief had a very personal touch, which resulted in so much more than a work space. It sets a new standard as a commercial building, particularly in Canberra. 59 Wentworth is a multi functional, multi faceted space, space for living, recreation, retreat, socialisation and collaboration.
Whilst offices occupy all four levels of the building, the inclusion of a penthouse apartment, roof top & ground level gardens, courtyards, water fountains, shaded seating areas, barbecues, a basketball court and the only roof top infinity pond in Canberra, provide its occupants an importantly liveable place of occupation.
A building offering a different feel on each level, all tied back to each other by the rhythmic nature of the façade.
Prominence of location, being a corner block at the gateway to the Kingston Foreshore precinct, was an important consideration in designing how the project would come to Designing to relate to its environment, neighbours, and creating a point of reference for the public domain. Permeability was also important, being an integral connection between the commercial and residential zones of the precinct.
Tinted glass, green and blue, assist in energy efficiency, reduce glare and create a visual link with the surrounding landscapes and back drop of the skies of Canberra. This glazing is articulated by a series of horizontal and vertical louvers around all facades, animating the building as your perspective changes. Roof top gardens are visible, while the ‘Tree of Life’ adorning the entrance is continuously moving as the front door operates.
The Vitruvian Triad, ‘well-building hath three conditions: commodity, firmness and delight’. This philosophy that the work of architecture be strong or durable, useful and beautiful, was adopted, reinterpreted and applied to this building. With the various materials ensuring the traditional proportions of base, middle and top are evident with a contemporary twist.
This building is designed to use less water and electricity, includes programmed air conditioning, lighting, IT systems and a structure that will stand the test of time. Decisions to budget for additional lifts, impressive foyer spaces, double glazing and roof top terraces are examples of the decisions made to improve comfort.
Constantly evolving due to its inhabitants creativity, the building has staged roof top gatherings, engagement parties, as well as fashion shows in the basement for local charities. People come off the street to play basketball or see the roof top terrace.
ARAA set out to create a building that enhanced the immediate site as well as becoming an important part of the Kingston Foreshore precinct, we believe we have succeeded in establishing a new benchmark in commercial building design and thus, wish to share it with you all.