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Award-winning sustainable fit-out of Aurecon House

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Aurecon House, a sustainable office fit-out with interactive zones, wide stairs, 5 Star Green Star Office Design rating

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Contemporary offices offer every business advantage, from high-tech tools to sustainable features that improve natural light and indoor air quality. However, as social animals we're always at our best with a sense of common purpose, and that can be reinforced simply by bold wall graphics or encouraging staff to pass through other work areas en route to their own.

Mechanical engineering giant Aurecon recently opened its new head office in Aurecon House in Melbourne. The fit-out is an excellent example of a corporate strategy reflected in the geography of the workplace. Aurecon House attracted a 5 Star Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia for the base build and Aurecon targeted a similar rating for its office interiors on levels four to nine, says interior designer Sue Solly of Geyer.

"Besides reflecting a sustainable agenda, part of Aurecon's own stock in trade, the project had to demonstrate the company's global reach to staff and visitors," Solly says. "The reworked interiors also had to bring a sense of togetherness to the 700 staff who had been accommodated over ten floors in their previous address."

Geyer's fit-out brings to life Aurecon's brand and business aims – to be leading, vibrant and global.

Integral to the design is a wide new central stairway that provides a pedestrian link and vertical views between all five floors. This offers a visually inviting and healthy means of moving between floors. To further encourage movement between the levels, facilities are decentralised. For example, printing is on level six and training rooms on level five. There is also an open-air terrace on level five, which overlooks adjacent parklands. These destinations ensure staff move through the interior, reinforcing a commonality of purpose.

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"This project is very much about connections," says Solly. "A series of pavilions with meeting rooms and quiet spaces is set off the stairway at each level. The stair is also close to the elevators. On level five, a terrace provides a venue for social gatherings with views of the nearby park."

Aurecon's brand colours, blue and green, are highly visible on all floors, can be seen through the stairwell, from above and below. And every level has its own geographical theme displayed in wall graphics and decor, each one showcasing an area of operation for the world-wide company. Asia, Africa and Australasia are some examples, with wood slats on the Asia level and perforated screens on the Middle Eastern-themed floor evoking the area and culture. The uppermost eighth floor, however, has an encompassing international theme.

While workers can travel by elevator directly to their own floor, visitors arrive at this top floor and either remain on that level or are escorted down the staircase to their specific area of contact – passing the company's branding and international themes along the way.

"We decided to strip out the ceilings in some areas, too, as another way of expressing the company's commercial engineering expertise," says Solly.

"The top floor has a high-tech boardroom, called The Best Room in the House. And it does indeed have the very latest technologies to hand, with interactive displays, connectivity and other business tools."

Having the naming tenant as the mechanical engineer proved invaluable to the project. Early in the piece, Aurecon and Geyer moved the columns away from the facade to maximise the views from workstations and the natural light. Aurecon also reconfigured plant requirements on the top floor, freeing up additional office space to the benefit of its own business and the developer.

With the wider stairwell came increased fire risks. In response, Aurecon's fire, mechanical and structural teams developed a solution that takes advantage of existing under-floor air conditioning system to extract and contain smoke.

In pursuit of the high Green Star interiors rating, Geyer chose all finishings, furniture and fittings for their sustainable attributes. To provide natural ventilation, there are operable perimeter windows, and there is a localised air conditioning flow that far exceeds code requirements.

Other green factors include fully automated energy-efficient lighting, a fuzzy-logic lift calling system and reflective window blinds to control heat and glare. Rainwater is reused for toilet flushing.

Connected, lively, and exuding global identity, the fit-out grows company pride and performance.

First published date: 30 October 2014

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Credit List

Project Aurecon Headquarters, Aurecon House, Melbourne
Interior designer Sue Solly, Lisa Rus, David Spaccatore, Geyer
Construction company Lend Lease
Mechanical and electrical engineer, fire consultant Aurecon
Lighting designer 2B Designed
Quantity surveyor Rider Levett Bucknall
Mechanical services contractor JL Williams
Handrails Custom
Blinds Vertilux Euroscreen
Wall tiles Moroccan tiles from Kasbah Moroccan Imports; Waringa prismatic coloured tiles from Johnson Tiles
Flooring Stonecraft and Colourbase carpet tile from Interface; inset feature rug and Tretford cord carpet from Gibbon Group; Flexo Rubber Flooring from Signature Floor; Bolon Flooring from Tag Flooring
Wall coverings Hoop pine plywood and oriented strand board from Gunnersens; powdercoated perforated stock metal sheets from Locker Group; Messmate recycled timber from Australian Recycled Timber; Custom Tasmanian oak timber slats from Jacaranda; Echopanel from Woven Image; fabric-wrapped panels by Maharam Kvadrat
Ceilings Exposed; American White Oak by Laminex Natural Timber Veneers
Veneers American White Oak by Laminex Natural Timber Veneers; Eveneer/Evenlimed-oak from Eveneer
Paints Dulux
Lighting Fagerhult by Eagle Lighting, LTS Torpedo from JSB Lighting; meeting rooms Deltalight by Inlite; breakout spaces Augustin and Laterna by Euroluce, Coco Flip by Corporate Culture; breakout JSB Lighting; meeting rooms JSB Lighting, Delta Light and Biluna from Inlite, Fagerhult and Isola from Eagle Lighting; boardroom System X Central Suspended by Euroluce
Ventilation Ahus GJ Walker; air-conditioning units Daikin
Office furniture Schiavello workstations
Office chairs Task chairs, Liberty Mesh by Schiavello; Catifa meeting room chairs by Stylecraft; Eames moulded chair for open-plan collaboration from Living Edge; open-plan collaboration lounge Stylecraft, Grow by Stylecraft, and Tolix and Tabouret by Thonet; training room, by Wilkhahn
Reception furniture Polder Lounge by Unifor, Case ottoman by Stylecraft, Rialto Lounge Chair by Interstudio, Charlie Lounge by Jardan, Space Chair by Corporate Culture
Breakout chairs Tomoe chair, Argo lounge chair, Beasley Lounge, Block Lounge and Sorrento Lounge, all from Temperature Design; Elan Bar Stool, Relax Dining Chair, Moon Stool, C317 Lounge, all from Interstudio; Accademia 698 Velina from Space Furniture; Empire Lounge, Archie Chair, Horizon Ottoman, Nook Lounge and Kiku Lounge, all from Jardan; Emu-Retrouve Chair from Zenith Interiors; Takahashi chair and wicker stool by Mark Tuckey; Forum Chair by Hussl and Monza Plank Chair from Insitu; Leaf Chair from Stylecraft; Carola chair from Living Edge
Meeting tables Dizzi Table from Stylecraft; Apollo Table from Living Edge; PBS Table from Koskela