A Collaborative Hub – 116 Rokeby by Figurehead Group and Carr
Conceived as a counterpoint to work-from-home culture, 116 Rokeby proposes a responsive place of work for design, property and construction professionals. Designed by Carr and developed by Figurehead Group (Figurehead and Flux Constructions), the 11-storey structure
pays homage to its location, creating a responsive environment for all users. At once acknowledging its history and respecting that which is yet to come, 116 Rokeby is comfortable and engaging, with a specific emphasis on design quality.
Located on the land of the Wurundjeri people, outside of the Melbourne CBD in the burgeoning enclave of Collingwood, 116 Rokeby uses its locale as a springboard to encourage a creative community both within and around the building. Aiming to connect the already thriving cultural and creative surrounds with a new era of creative professionals, the rich surrounding neighbourhood served as inspiration. Choosing a site such as this for a design, property and construction hub was not without risk; however, Joe Grasso, Founder and Managing Director of Figurehead Group, had no reservations. “Every detail, including the inner north location, has been designed for people who thrive in innovative spaces,” he says. Rebecca Trenorden, Associate Director at Carr, agrees, explaining Collingwood is “a precinct that has shifted to become more sophisticated without losing its creative edge.” Both Joe and Rebecca describe the development as a direct response to the growing demand amongst emerging creatives, with Joe concluding that “we have designed a building that brings premium to Collingwood.”
Formulated to facilitate the creative community of the future, the concept also pays homage to its important past. A respectful acknowledgment of the site’s rich history will see an artwork – titled Reflections of a Breathing Space – resulting from a collaboration between First Nations sand artist Lowell Hunter and painter, illustrator and digital artist Gerard Black. The artwork is set to adorn the southern elevation, imprinted into the concrete façade. “By committing to working respectfully with First Nations people, you start to develop a deeper sense of the rich and strong culture that exists within our communities – this is something that we should all embrace and be proud of,” states Lowell. The artwork title aptly represents the design intent of 116 Rokeby, creating a place to breathe and reconnect while at work.
Using a clear understanding of the evolution of needs in office spaces allowed Carr to “deeply consider work-life integration” within the built form, explains Rebecca. Creating a vertical village structure to enhance user experience, “it’s about building a community and having spaces to socialise and to nourish,” she continues. This ethos is evidenced through the cafe at the entry, premium end-of-trip and on-floor amenities throughout and a communal rooftop gathering space with kitchen and deep areas for plantings, combining landscape, building and interiors. “One of the main things covid showed us is the need for social connection and great amenities, and this ability to have a building community where likeminded tenants share a space that’s so connected is very rare,” Rebecca explains. Joe adds, “we want the space to be inspiring and motivate people to come and do their best work.” With a focus on premium outcomes, human-centric design moves are spread throughout the building, with integral landscaping, quality detailing and a holistic approach to interior and architecture, the design is both seamless and enveloping. “It’s about supporting how you interact with all the spaces. It’s a real blurring of lines between the disciplines,” Rebecca says.
With a focus on premium outcomes, human-centric design moves are spread throughout the building.
Consideration for end users extends beyond the usual lip service, instead directing the design towards a meaningful contribution to achieving a sustainable workplace, targeting Climate Active carbon neutrality, a 5.5-Star NABERS Rating along with Platinum WELL Certification. The design embeds sustainability throughout, mostly unseen, with the exclusion of the feature double-skin façade.
Utilised as both passive and active thermal control, the two double-glazed walls act as a thermal chimney, exhausting hot air through the top and drawing cooler air up from the plenum below, with automatic sensor-controlled blinds and user-operated windows to optimise passive methods for temperature control and natural ventilation. This operational flexibility provides multiple comfort benefits for building users, reduced loads on mechanical heating and cooling and, therefore, building operational costs, resulting in greater individual interaction and control of workplace atmosphere.
Due for completion in early 2024, 116 Rokeby has a selection of spaces over nine floors deliberately offered to design, construction and property professionals appreciative of design-focused outcomes without compromising on personal interactions and the legacy of impact. As Rebecca concludes, “there’s a real clarity about the building and the design. It is not decorated or overly layered. It has a calmness to it, and this ability to breathe is something I think we all need.”