The leading expression of a modern Queensland workplace, 458 Wickham Street leverages the unique subtropical climate and its relaxed informality. Harnessing the opportunity for outside collaboration and active lifestyles, the design perfectly melds efficient building form and services to deliver a modern workplace that supports innovation, productivity, and collaboration.
Fortitude Valley has evolved to become a vibrant, mixed-use precinct and an ideal alternative office location for those progressive organisations placing increasing value on employee work-life balance.
The area displays a unique mix of Brisbane’s heritage which is juxtaposed with modern progressive architecture. The project expresses the evolution of the area, providing a premium quality commercial office building with an enduring and timeless aesthetic and natural material palette.
Located on a crest of Wickham Street - a key transit corridor from Brisbane CBD - the project presents as a visual gateway sentinel for the Fortitude Valley area.
Alongside building massing and aesthetics, the evolution of the typical floor plate was led by an appreciation of the need to meet the functional requirements of potential occupants, seeking flexible workplaces that can be easily scaled.
The ability to interconnect multiple floors to create urban villages has been considered, with close attention paid to the suitability of the buildings, floor plate, structure, and services to allow this.
The building’s strikingly delicate white aluminium lattice facade vibrantly expresses the building's structure and creates a visual linkage to other newer buildings within the immediate area. The Church Street facade is intended to present a resolute but progressive professional aesthetic to the high volume of approaching traffic travelling along Wickham Street. Its prominence and quality design delivers valuable opportunity for occupants to reinforce their own brand identity.
Drawing from Willemsen Design’s established detailing, the foyer incorporates premium elegant modern architectural elements, including timber batten ceiling, marble cladding and dynamic lighting.
Located at roof plaza level - 63 metres above the bustle of Wickham Street overlooking the CBD skyline - is a verdant 800 square metre recreation and relaxation space. The landscape is intelligently designed to provide intimate spaces which support informal relaxation and organisational collaboration. Transparent, glazed balustrading securely mitigates wind effects while allowing occupants to enjoy the Brisbane CBD skyline views and extensive subtropical gardens year round.
Functional podium parking levels for 92 cars and 4 motorbikes are hidden by a sculptural building facade that incorporates a dramatic lighting installation and vertical plantings which will be an iconic feature of the building.
Indoor environmental quality is assured with the building management system which actively monitors temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and light levels, adjusting operating parameters to ensure the environmental conditions are optimised for occupant comfort and resource efficiency.
Dynamic lighting control is provided through an intelligent lighting control system, which interconnects fittings with lux and movement sensors on a 5 core communications network. This system interrelates with work point-based task lighting to provide optimised light levels for each task rather than wasteful average illumination.
As simple as the idea of insulation and air sealing would appear, it is inherently complex and difficult to implement, requiring a high level of technical skill and design documentation, followed by rigorous monitoring during construction.
At Willemsen, our in-house design team and construction managers are attuned to this level of detail and experienced in its delivery, understanding the pivotal effect that air quality has on a building’s lifelong performance.
In the current generation of buildings, we strive for dual layer air sealing, double glazing and insulation of all exterior surfaces.
Our buildings incorporate complex BACnet building management systems that continuously monitor temperature, air velocity and humidity at multiple points in the building air cycle. They combine this information with carbon dioxide readings and outside air temperature to modulate services preferencing maximum filtered fresh air where outside conditions make it appropriate.
In our construction and facilities maintenance practices, we have detailed specifications implemented by our staff and contractors to control particulate matter, airborne microbials, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and formaldehyde.
Our buildings prioritise natural illumination (100% core office), employing lighting systems that are built to work with task-based lighting, providing energy efficient fine grained lighting control.
It is well recognised that natural light is essential for people to be able to function properly. Natural light leads to better performance, improving concentration levels and thereby boosting productivity. Light also has a positive impact on work satisfaction and sick-related absenteeism.
The simplest way to minimise total energy transfer is by reducing window openings as these are the most difficult and costly parts of the building to insulate. Aside from this, another imperfect resolution is to apply a dark tint to the windows to increase their SHGC (shading coefficient), but this has a substantial effect on visible light transfer which is a greater issue. Typically dark glass results in low natural light transmission and a reliance on artificial lighting, increasing tenant energy consumption and providing a poor-quality working environment.
At Willemsen our buildings are specified high efficiency vacuum spluttered triple silver coat low “E” glass, allowing floor-to-ceiling glazing with high visible light transmission and minimised energy transfer.
Designers at our core, we are passionate about light and shade its impact on the built environment. We prioritise functional performance in in everything we design, and the idea of wasteful illumination is contrary to our ethos.
Building standards are written with lux level requirements for various tasks such as inside movement, outside movement, administrative work and detailed work. The common design approach is to implement an average level of illumination. While simple in theory, this inevitably leads to over- or under-illumination and thereby energy waste.
Task-based lighting is integral to the design of each modern Willemsen building. We implement 5-core softwire network-addressable lighting looms with lux and motion sensing. These overhead systems have the capacity to work in harmony with task-based lighting at the work point.
Water falling on paved terraces and roofing structures is captured and fed through sediment filtration to underground storage tanks. This can be further filtered on demand and used for a variety of non-potable applications around the building.
To optimise the benefit of collected water, our buildings incorporate water-efficient, WELLS-rated appliances throughout with water-efficient irrigation systems. We avoid the use of evaporative cooling where possible.