Melbourne, VIC, Australia
From The Architect
An office that is living: grows, adapts, is responsive and is always applicable to the way Arup works, has led the design of the engineering firm’s new Melbourne Australia, office.
In a long-term collaboration between design and engineering, HASSELL partnered with Arup to create a workplace that invites people back, resonates with them, inspires them to reflect on their knowledge and through increased connectivity, promotes the open sharing of ideas. The resulting workplace has created a new paradigm in how teams interact and develop creative approaches to work. HASSELL was engaged in 2013 to develop – with Arup – the living.arup guidelines that would guide the process of developing, delivering and measuring the success of all Arup workplace projects in Australasia. These guidelines provided a standard and consistent baseline for workplace projects across the region.
The key objective was to define the type of workplace that would enable the business in its evolution by encouraging new attitudes and behaviours where needed, without losing what was valuable. It focused on looking forward to the ideal future state, and defining the type of workplace that supported that vision.
HASSELL Associate Rebecca Trenorden said living.arup is all about transparency, having Arup on show and growing together as an organisation. “Visibility, transparency, and celebrating engineering is a key focus of the design and this can be seen through collaboration spaces strategically placed around central voids, as well as through exposed services,” Rebecca said. “But the living.arup concept is also about continuously growing and evolving. Internal landscaping highlights this idea as the plants have been selected to grow and fit into the workplace offering an ongoing, changing perspective,” she said.
The new workplace centres around two overlapping voids, creating a singular volume instead of three separate levels. Two mezzanines help develop the volumes into a cascading collaboration than that connects all three levels.
“Design studios on the top of the mezzanines act as a hackable space for sharing ideas and experimentation, an internal work culture which was really important to Arup,” Rebecca said. A wide variety of working typologies including formal and informal meeting areas, design studios, labs, a working kitchen, training rooms, private project rooms and a co-working-style cafe for clients and suppliers allows for continuous sharing of ideas and knowledge. The new office also includes a sound lab, a light lab, a maker’s space and an experiential lab giving the teams plenty of opportunities to continue learning and developing new approaches.
Arup Principal and Vic/SA Region Leader Joseph Correnza said the new Melbourne workplace embodies ideas and design elements that highlight the living.arup principles and culture.
“When Arup and HASSELL starting work on developing living.arup we knew that we were onto something that would dramatically change the way we connect and collaborate, and the impact this would have on our clients and collaborators. Being courageous and working symbiotically with HASSELL has not only allowed us to achieve our goals as an organisation, but has also exceeded our expectations. We are all very proud of the result,” Joseph said.