Finalist 2022

The Reworked Tower

Shruti Ghosh / Clarissa Vadala

Through the generative process of Automated High-Resolution tectonics, medium density co-working opportunities are created and synthesised with crucial day-to-day programs

Since the pandemic the concept of working in a standardised office has significantly shifted; for the population has proved we can work in any environment without impacting the development of one’s work, if not bettering the outcome.  Therefore, the Reworked Tower explores the ideas of intertwined programs of co working and how this can create an integrated building with several functions. The location is assumed to be in Melbourne’s CBD, Victoria, which contains a widespread of buildings for different purposes, therefore this project also attempts to push the creativity of a modular tower in a frequently shifting city.

Design Brief:

In this generation the demand for employees and the constant output of work has dramatically risen. However, the environment of a workplace has typically stayed the same, with cubical offices that contain little light, no setting for shared spaces and little recognition to accommodate for employees’ children. The brief of the project was to develop a different model of working within an office, that offered complex space that is integrated and spatially aware of its surroundings both internally and externally. This project was designed to create a co working atmosphere which explores the ideas of flexible working and early learning spaces. This is deployed through the design of universal prefabricated modular building components that are assembled to create the geometry of the tower. This system is automated through algorithmic processes to generate novel design tectonics and aesthetics of the tower.

This project was developed by:

  • Shruti Ghosh
  • Clarissa Vadala

Design Process

Through initial investigation, office buildings throughout Melbourne’s CBD had limited external habitable garden space where majority of a building’s function is internalised. The spatial planning was designed merely through plan and not vertically other than through centralised cores.  Ensuring components were stacked indirectly on top of one another, enabled the creation of intricate moments where voids can interact with various levels. Cascading elements were also configured throughout the overall form to obtain as much exterior space as possible.  Therefore, by using Automated Tectonic Design the process of achieving this outcome was as follows:

  • Testing numerous connection points on multiple faces of the component to create multiple variations of spatial layouts that could be utilized horizontally and vertically.
  • Use of a bounding box to contain the multiple aggregations within the site boundary.
  • Creating a voxelated agent to alter the overall shape of the form to produce cascading and trickling features throughout the tower, externally.
  • Applying and testing variants of faceted façade elements to create a unique exterior form, through the momentary emergence of angular glazing.
  • Including multiple variations of window directionality throughout the component geometries to maximise the amount of sunlight and external views.
  • Application of internalised voids that replicate the geometry of the chosen component.
  • Employing external garden / balcony space that is either covered or open to provide seamlessly adjoined exterior spaces alongside internal workspaces, throughout the tower.

The Reworked Tower explores newly found concepts of interstitial porous spaces (as a result of various internalised voids & balcony spaces), through the ideas of co-working and early learning within a tower typology that captures the constant movement and interaction between different sectors of programs. These programs are inclusive of early-learning, social wellbeing zones & fitness-integrated workspaces, all hybridised with the overarching co-working intent, where the constant programmatic interaction emerges a creative, collaborative environment.

Design Excellence

To ensure the concept of co-working is well achieved and excelled in this project, the tower is designed and curated such that the workspaces aren’t solely serving the purpose of work at a given time, instead they are hybridised with other programs that unfold a sense of convenience, social, physical and mental wellbeing across occupants, through their unconventional and intricate spatial configurations. In devising some of these supplementary functions to synthesize the workspaces with, we began considering the need for workers to pursue their mental, physical and social health/ wellbeing in conjunction with work. This informed our decision around intermixing various breakout spaces, standing/ treadmill desks, workout bench-integrated desks, galleries, early-learning and cafés with free-flowing/ flexible co working configurations, in a rather unforeseen and unorthodox manner.

The vertically-integrated approach in designing the tower, from both a planar and sectional perspective, resulted in large, centralised voids puncturing through multiple levels creating a clear visual & spatial connect and awareness across the levels. This ensured all intertwined functions were approachable and accessible by all occupants, whilst maintaining efficiency and independent functionality to an extent, through their vertical distinction across the levels of the tower. At a holistic level, these internal voids create an appreciable and dynamic interior aesthetic and spatial quality coupled with the emerging light circulation through these large, multi level hollow voids. This in turn provides an alluring user experience throughout the tower, contradicting the preconception of high-density towers as largely projecting a dense & convoluted atmosphere. Some of these atypical, yet highly effective spatial and functional outcomes emerging from this project further holds the capacity to be seen as a benchmark in various working sectors and, be transposed & applied into the realm of professional design, not merely in Victoria, but also in growing countries where high-density solutions are exclusive and underutilised.

Design Innovation

Upon analysing the site’s context and realising the presence of many small scale, individualised commercial units amongst a slight scarcity of a large multi-purpose working focused complex, we began shifting our project towards a well amalgamated and multi-purposeful tower to provide for atypical, unconventional, yet, adaptable and efficient co-working opportunities. This was the overarching driver for the project and the predominant goal of re-emerging a complete tower dedicated solely to various co working opportunities, which are always being multi purposed and shared with other, day-to-day functions, (which are otherwise not easily accessible and available in traditional offices, despite their significance in boosting efficiency and the wellbeing of workers within their work environments).

This prospect of hybridising typical workspaces with early-learning, cultural, social and physical wellbeing, in turn creates intricately woven, atypical and complex spatial configurations around these new, specific requirements and uses. This subsequently begins to open up an innovative dimension into the realm of co working. The integration of early learning with the large scale working tower further exemplifies the thought and care in establishing a work environment that seamlessly and collaboratively functions alongside childcare programs. Replacing a direct interaction between early learning and co working, with an indirect, visual connectivity, where the workers have the ability to overlook their young one's from their workspaces and breakout zones, through the large, multi-storey voids dispersed internally throughout the tower.

The versatile spatial potential, spreading multidisciplinary interactions and awareness throughout the tower, generates new design solutions to overcome the common barriers of single, new and/or working parents. The limitations and contemplation they face when considering the adverse effects of regularly commuting to work, creating a sense of detachment with their young children throughout their long working hours, would be addressed through this innovative approach to co-working hybridised with early-learning.

Design Impact

The Reworked Tower introduces new and engaging methods of working in an office environment, that promote social interaction between teams and businesses as well as providing the high demand of early learning centres within an office tower. This in many cases would boost work morale therefore improving social and economical factors within the workplace, and hence circulate efficiency and elevated social wellbeing into the greater society; due to the stimulating effects of working in a space that is vastly open and provides various configurations of working spaces across all levels. Such a programmatic configuration also ensures ambient assistance is provided to employees with families, which effectively meets, and excels, the needs of today’s generation.

In relation to environmental factors, the materiality of the Reworked Tower focuses on Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), a renewable material that has a life span of 60 years, to minimise any waste and environmental impact. Moreover, the system of the tower works in a modular output, where there are four variations of the same sized component that are continuously replicated to create the overall form of the tower. Therefore, the repetition of these components and being modular alone, reduces the amount of waste and pollution, aiding in the towers environmental impact, through the opportunity of relying on pre fabrication in curating the holistic product.  The Reworked Tower promotes creative culture within Victoria by enhancing the way we work, allowing employees to be more creative and fluid not only in design but in all sectors of work. Where new ideas will constantly evolve not only in the work place but also through design and the future outcomes of co working.

Circular Design and Sustainability Features

The intentional reliance on green roofs across each of the overlapping terraces, that form the roofs of the underneath habitable, modular spaces reflects a predominant sustainable design stance that was devised within the project. There is a continuous overlapping externally throughout the tower, where the roof of the component module below is proposed to enact an accessible garden area for the occupied levels above. This results in the creation of intensified green roof opportunities alongside such a high density working tower. In addition, by applying such a green roof typology to some of these outdoor spaces, (whilst ensuring they are consistently accessible and functional as breakout and/ or group working areas), an essence of sustainable design simultaneously becomes omnipresent in the project.

These green roofs, then sequentially enact the role of natural insulation, (especially across some of the outer modules, where the heat is more directly projected and hence, absorbed), as well as providing optimal, passive storm water absorption. This subsequently eliminates the reliance on extensive drainage systems, further denoting the sustainable outcomes as a result of introducing this staggering movement across the outdoor gardens, especially within the outer crevices of the tower. In conjunction, the reliance on Cross Laminated Timber as the primary building material for the proposed Reworked Tower, as mentioned in the 'Design Impact' section, further showcases the reduced environmental detriment as considered throughout this project's development phase. This further depicts the ambitious adaption of CLT in a medium to high density working environment, a fairly advanced and pioneering proposal.

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