Finalist 2022

Olderfleet

Grimshaw / Mirvac / Arup / AECOM / Carr / Lovell Chen

Olderfleet’s future-focused workplace provides a unique sense of place and community while supporting the health and wellbeing of its occupants.

Olderfleet comprises a new 40-storey commercial tower that is respectfully integrated with three of Melbourne’s significant heritage buildings, known as the Olderfleet Buildings. Situated between these and the new tower is a 25-metre-high atrium, a light-filled lobby that provides legibility of the heritage fabric and grounds the new tower elements to create an exciting juxtaposition while respectfully unifying 58,000sqm of flexible office and third spaces. Designed as a future-workplace precinct to create a rich urban-community experience, Olderfleet connects workers with the grandeur of Melbourne’s Victorian architecture while providing a new, internationally recognised workplace that nurtures, supports and engages its occupants.

Design Brief

Leading developer, Mirvac, created a brief that called for a 40-storey workplace tower to be designed as one of Melbourne’s exclusive commercial buildings, complete with a wellness centre, childcare, end-of-trip facilities, dining, retail, business lounge, and co-working spaces. The tower had to sit harmoniously with three existing significant heritage buildings, known as the ‘Olderfleet Buildings’, located at 477 Collins Street, Melbourne, Australia. A further requirement of the brief was to imbue human scale and warmth as part of the spatial experience. This was particularly important for the primary and rear entries on Collins Street and Flinders Lane, respectively, with the intent of establishing a luxe arrival and lobby experience in keeping with the tenant-focussed aspirations for the project. Completed in 2020, the design seeks to elegantly unify the heritage fabric with the contemporary workplace tower to offer an experience that celebrates new and old.


This project was developed by:

Design Process

The design process began with an internal design charette held between Grimshaw’s London, Melbourne, New York and Sydney studios. This enabled four distinct concepts to be created and a diverse pool of progressive thinking to draw upon for the evolution of the final design created by Grimshaw’s Melbourne studio. The four design concepts were distilled into themes, including the ‘vertical village’ concept which provides tenants with a unique identity in the overall community of the building and an architectural expression of how tenants occupy space and the building responds to their requirements. This design approach enabled Olderfleet to be tailored to suit the organisational space requirements of Deloitte, which was a key to securing the top-tier firm as the anchor tenant of the building. Another key design approach was the WELL certification.

In 2018, Olderfleet became the first building in Australia to achieve a Platinum WELL pre-certification for the base building – shell and core. This was a critical milestone as it allowed Mirvac to understand early in the construction process that Olderfleet’s design would make a WELL rating possible, and subsequently enable them to deliver on another of Deloitte’s key requirements for the new workplace. Completed in 2020, Olderfleet’s design elegantly unifies the heritage fabric with the contemporary workplace tower to offer an experience that celebrates new and old while supporting the health and wellbeing of its occupants. Since then, Olderfleet has received many accolades, including the ‘World’s Best Office – Completed Buildings’ at the World Architecture Festival Awards, and ‘Best Tall Office Building Award of Excellence Winner’ from the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. These accolades are a testament to how the design team has not just met but exceeded the design brief.

Design Excellence

Olderfleet represents the future of workplace design by providing an environment that is proven to support the health and wellbeing of its occupants. In 2018, Olderfleet became the first building in Australia to achieve a Platinum WELL pre-certification for the base building – shell and core, and in 2022 it achieved WELL Platinum Certification for the base building. This certification bestows a level of commercial benefit to Olderfleet’s owners and tenants by providing attractive spatial and programme experiences for employees and future talent. The WELL certification is achieved through a performance-based system that involves on-site measuring, certifying and monitoring of building features that impact human health and wellbeing through seven concepts: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind.

To achieve the Platinum certification, it is integral that these aspects are considered at the very beginning of the design process and that a collaborative approach is employed by the client, design team and stakeholders. The pursuit of a WELL Platinum Certification for Olderfleet has not only demonstrated the steadfast commitment of and collaboration between Mirvac, Grimshaw and engineers, Arup, but also enabled Mirvac to deliver on anchor tenant Deloitte’s key requirement for their new workplace. In effect, Olderfleet is a new workplace microcosm, one which sets new standards for the built environment and our relationship with it by focusing on the health and wellbeing of individuals and our workplace communities. It is an important addition to Melbourne’s commercial landscape, especially so during the circumstances of COVID-19. The calibre and aspiration of Mirvac’s premium grade Olderfleet has been recognised by the industry and reflected in its substantial market success, securing leading Australian businesses as tenants and reaching 100% committed occupancy ahead of completion.

Design Innovation

Comprising a wellness centre, childcare, dining, retail, business lounge, premium end-of-trip facilities, free health monitoring stations, and pro-working spaces, the design of Olderfleet approaches health and wellbeing in a holistic way and is informed by anticipated advances in workplace technology, methodology and sociology. From the outset, Olderfleet has been designed in response to unique tenant requirements. The tower comprises three vertical neighbourhoods with expansive client floors situated between each neighbourhood featuring increased floor-to-floor heights and recessed external terraces.

Floorplates are designed to create highly flexible, contiguous space, with the interior quality of fire stairs elevated so they may also form part of the tenant fitout and circulation experience. This optimises the area and flexibility of the floorplates and promotes an active, healthy workplace. The position and configuration of a side-core arrangement further maximises floorplate flexibility and allows for optimal natural light and views, and enables tenants to reconfigure fitouts or subdivide floors for sub-lease.

Another distinguishing design approach is that the existing heritage fabric has been fully integrated with the development. Rather than being used as a heritage façade, the existing Olderfleet Buildings have been conserved and refurbished, and are now used as enriching pro-working, retail and food and beverage spaces. The lobby provides legibility of the heritage buildings, and grounds the new tower elements to create an exciting juxtaposition. The exposed heritage façade incorporates vertical circulation within the lobby, with panoramic lifts and staircases suspended in front of it, each treated with black-painted steel and clear glass to enhance intuitive wayfinding. The conservation and refurbishment of the Olderfleet Buildings also work to minimise carbon emissions, all while celebrating Melbourne’s heritage fabric and adding to the city’s rich urban experience.

Design Impact

The future-focused design for Olderfleet provides a premium workplace where third spaces, flexibility, technology and a unique sense of place and community contribute significantly to the building’s health and wellbeing offer. The first building in Australia to achieve a Platinum WELL pre-certification for the base building – shell and core due to its incorporation of numerous health and wellbeing initiatives, Olderfleet includes a firestair that is elevated in its design and utilised for general access within tenant spaces to promote active workplaces, improved air quality, free health stations for tenants, facilities such as a childcare and gym, and carefully selected low-VOC interior materials and finishes. Olderfleet has also achieved 6-star Green Star, 5-star NABERS Energy, and 5.5-star NABERS Water ratings.

The building’s high-performance double and triple-glazed façades with external shading and a high degree of solar control minimise energy demand. Greenhouse gas emissions are further reduced through the incorporation of a PV array on the roof of the development. The design integrates smart building technology that not only improves the quality of the interior environment through better air flow, air purification, and energy use. A more lyrical approach to the quality of the built environment is demonstrated by ‘Solar’, an artwork by renowned artist, Wolfgang Buttress.

Created specifically for Olderfleet’s lobby, ‘Solar’ is a suspended sphere that harnesses natural light and responds to the real-time building data feed of solar radiation, connecting those that journey through the lobby with the environmental aspirations for Olderfleet. The conservation and refurbishment of the Olderfleet Buildings also minimise environmental impact through the reduction of carbon emissions. Designed to create a highly flexible, rich urban-community experience, Olderfleet connects workers with the grandeur of Melbourne’s significant Victorian architecture while providing a new, internationally recognised workplace that is proven to nurture, support and engage its occupants.

Circular Design and Sustainability Features

In 2018, Olderfleet became the first building in Australia to achieve Platinum WELL pre-certification for the base building – shell and core, and in 2022 it achieved WELL Platinum Certification for the base building. WELL certification is achieved through a performance-based system that involves on-site measuring, certifying and monitoring of building features that impact human health and wellbeing through seven concepts: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. In addition, the building’s design has achieved 6-star Green Star, 5-star NABERS Energy, and 5.5-star NABERS Water ratings.

Olderfleet’s sustainable design features include:

  • High-performance double and triple-glazed façades with external shading to minimise energy demand.
  • A PV array on Olderfleet’s roof: 176 solar panels generate slightly more power than needed for the base building lighting within common areas of the tenanted office floors.
  • Rainwater harvesting: integrated into the structure of Olderfleet is a 216-kilolitre rainwater tank. It’s anticipated Olderfleet will capture approximately 1,000 kilolitres of rainwater annually – equivalent to 13.5 standard swimming pools.
  • Recycled materials: the internal brick structure of the heritage buildings was restored as a feature wall within the lobby and involved the sourcing of recycled bricks from a specialist supplier, which remarkably came from the same factory as the original bricks.
  • Integrated technology: real-time data feeds support optimal building performance
  • 22 electric vehicle charging stations with provision for 57 additional spaces.
  • Innovative use of space: as an example, the elevated interior quality of fire stairs enables them to form part of the tenant fitout and circulation experience. This optimises the area and flexibility of the floorplates and promotes an active, healthy workplace. The conservation and refurbishment of the Olderfleet Buildings also works to minimise carbon emissions, all while celebrating Melbourne’s heritage fabric and adding to the city’s rich urban experience.

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