AECOM Perth Office

  • Walkways are the primary way of moving throughout the building rather than a focus on lifts.
    Walkways are the primary way of moving throughout the building rather than a focus on lifts.
  • Access to natural light encourages physical activity.
    Access to natural light encourages physical activity.
  • AECOM Perth office
  • AECOM Perth office
  • AECOM Perth office
Introduction

AECOM’s Perth office is in close proximity to public transport hubs, both rail and bus. The 8,000m2 workplace is located on levels 3 to 7 of the GPO built in 1917. Each level is connected with stairwells and common workspaces, which are distributed throughout the space to encourage staff movement.

Description of project

The use of the historic Perth GPO demonstrates how re-use of a space can positively contribute to Perth’s sense of place. Faced with local building materials, the structure has a neo-classical façade, composed of columns, loggias and balconies. The building has a 1,500m2 floorplate, which is organised around a central glazed lightwell.

AECOM requested the highest of sustainability initiatives but also wanted a design that was responsive to workplace unity, transparency, functionality, community and innovation. There is an understanding that great physical environments enhance wellbeing, cultural change and service outcomes. AECOM wanted a workspace supporting these principles. The designers had the challenge of negotiating various heritage conservation requirements but managed to design the first building in Western Australia to be awarded a green star for interior design.

AECOM’s support for a healthy workplace resulted in the adoption of the following design decisions:

  • Encourage high levels of natural lighting.
  • Arrange open plan work areas in a contiguous U-type configuration, with circulation around a central light well.
  • Provide a continuous workspace intersecting with libraries, meeting and utility rooms.
  • Arrange the reception, meeting and collective facilities floor area vertically.
  • Connect common areas through internal stairs.
  • Remove ceilings and rearrange services to maximise the exposure of the existing structure and enhance the heritage and spatial character of the building.
  • Methodically integrate environmental initiatives to achieve a 5-Star Green Star rating.
  • Place meeting rooms and common areas in close proximity to the existing balconies.
  • Locate social/cafe areas to open onto the external courtyard.
  • Connect internal stairs and bridges to allow integration with the common areas on different floors.
Project team
  • AECOM
  • BVN Donovan Hill
  • HASSELL
Project cost

$14.25 million

Values

A well-designed building provides health, economic, environmental, social and use benefits.

Health value
  • Internal interconnected stairwells, common areas located vertically throughout and internal bridges encourage the workforce to move between levels of the building, increasing levels of physical activity.
Economic value
  • Research has quantified the link between employee feelings and corporate outcomes, reporting that lost productivity due to employee disengagement costs more than $300 billion in the USA annually. The research indicated that happier employees are more productive employees. The design brief for AECOM’s Perth office focused on supporting a happy workforce.
Environmental value
  • The design of the AECOM building achieved a 5-Star Green Star (Australian Excellence) rating. The Green Star Office Interiors scheme evaluates the environmental initiatives and potential environmental impact of office tenancy fit-outs. The Green Building Council of Australia encourage and assess green design attributes and initiatives, as well as reward office tenants who commit to a high quality environment for their workforce.
Social value
  • The construction of the original GPO was symbolic of Perth’s growth and sense of place. Commonwealth architect, John Smith Murdoch, created the design in 1912 with construction completed in 1923. The original seven storey eastern elevation is faced with granite from Mahogany Creek and Donnybrook sandstone. An innovative design solution accommodated large spans of open space on each floor, with a central two storey postal hall that emphasises a sense of space.
Use value
  • The interior and building design is symbolic of AECOM’s position in the market place. At the time of opening, there were 13 Green Star buildings in Western Australia, 9 of which had been designed by AECOM.
References

AECOM, AECOM awarded WA’s first Green Star Rating for Office Interiors. Posted 14 July 2010. Sourced on 17 January 2013 from: http://www.aecom.com/Where+We+Are/Australia+-+New+Zealand/_news/AECOM+awarded+WA%E2%80%99s+first+Green+Star+Rating+for+Office+Interiors

Australian Institute of Architecture, In the architects words. Sourced on 17 January 2013 from: http://www.architecture.com.au/awards_search?option=showaward&entryno=2009063107

Bloomberg Business Week, Employee Happiness Matters More Than You Think. Posted 22 February 2012. Sourced on 17 January 2013 from: http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2012/02/employee_happiness_matters_more_than_you_think.html

Heritage Council of Western Australia, Perth General Post Office. Sourced on 17 January 2013 from: http://inherit.stateheritage.wa.gov.au/Public/Inventory/Details/a53c977c-eb65-4b2c-a79e-3df7f679232f

Type of project
Building
Location
Urban