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Setting a new sustainable design benchmark

In response to evolving workplace conditions in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic, developer and property investor Cbus Property recently lodged a new development application (DA) for its $1 billion commercial tower at 435 Bourke Street.

Architecturally designed by Bates Smart, the tower is expected to set a new benchmark for sustainable office development and design with a ‘solar skin’ facade. The original development application for the tower was approved by the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) in January 2020.

Cbus Property’s Chief Executive Officer, Adrian Pozzo, said the modified development plans encompass four addresses on the corner of Bourke and Queen Streets. The commercial precinct will amalgamate the recently demolished 140 and 150 Queen Street and 27 McKillop Street sites with the yet-to-be-demolished 423 Bourke Street site and is anticipated to serve as a ‘vertical village’ for more than 5500 city workers.

The new tower is proposed to comprise approximately 60,000 square metres of premium commercial office space across 48 levels, with 1300 square metres of retail space, 116 car parks, a sky garden and several landscaped open-air or mixed-mode terraces.

Bates Smart Director Cian Davis said that 435 Bourke had been designed as “a diverse ecosystem of workspaces”.

“We know that the relationship between the work we do and where we do it has been forever transformed,” he said.

“We didn’t want to design a building that would be outdated by its completion. Instead, it will cater to any work setting and scenario, engage with its surroundings, be open to the neighbourhood at the ground, and achieve the best tall commercial tower performance in Australia,” Davis said.

Cbus Property has fast-tracked its commitment to Net Zero Carbon to early 2020, and 435 Bourke is designed to achieve this goal in operation, with 20% of its fully electric base building electricity requirements generated onsite by its solar skin design. The balance of the building will be powered by off-site renewable electricity.

“The solar skin system is made up of translucent, vertical glass photovoltaic panels that will help generate 20% of the base building power,” Davis said.

Solar facade.

“People working in the building will be able to look out the window and see where their energy comes from. This collected energy coupled with all-electric operations will help the tower save 430 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year. The building will also reduce its embodied carbon by 30% through the use of finely tuned materials.”

The revised plan was developed with an aim to futureproof the design of 435 Bourke to bring workers back to the city and respond to an ever-evolving Melbourne workforce situation with an enhanced focus on sustainability, wellness, collaboration, connection to the public community, nature and productivity.

“Now that people are accustomed to working remotely and in informal settings, the sky garden, ground plane and mixed-mode terraces are key focuses of the new submission, providing diverse and naturally ventilated extensions of traditional workspaces, and contributing to this new idea of a vertical campus in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD with atrium-style physical and visual connectivity,” Pozzo said.

Pozzo went on to say that Melbourne’s commercial office market was expected to bounce back from the uncertainty of the pandemic, with more than 800,000 square metres of prime CBD office space due to expire between 2025 and 2026.

“Future work practices are expected to trigger a flight to new developments that are able to respond to shifting tenant needs calling for a holistic and collaborative work-life approach,” he said.

Cbus is targeting a 6 Star Green Star New Buildings rating and a Platinum WELL certified rating for the tower. Construction commencement is anticipated for 2022.

Images courtesy of Cbus Property.

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