Woodhead has designed the integrated fitout for the for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE) new headquarters inCanberra. After participating in a comprehensive selection process, Woodhead was selected from over 120 other architecture and interior design firms, to design the new workplace for this growing government department. Designed for 6 Star Green Star Office Interiors v1.1, the Department’s workplace will continue the Woodhead practice of setting a benchmark in sustainable workplace design. This project presented Woodhead with two distinctly unique design opportunities; Firstly, new environmental benchmarks were established by aligning the Departments vision to produce the most environmentally sustainable large-scale commercial office fitout in Australia, with Woodhead’s knowledge and expertise in sustainable design. The resultant design includes the use of recycled materials ‘green’ walls, natural displacement air-conditioning and operable windows, which will all contribute positively to energy efficiency. Secondly, this design opportunity provided scope for further developing Woodhead’s ‘campus’ workplace model and exploring new ways of working, allowing for collaborative spaces and modularisation. The workplace design will be an expression of the values of the DCCEE, not just environmentally yet in terms of investing in its people to further increase the Departments productivity. Woodhead has worked closely with the Department to ensure the end result will focus on value and efficiency. The new workplace operates like its own ecosystem, complex yet seamless in its function. The design encourages an intuitive way of working and drives the exchange of resources and information. The integrated fitout was completed early December 2012, with DCCEE moving into the 20,700sqm NewActon Nishi commercial building in Canberra during December.
Woodhead’s team engaged in collaborative briefing workshops with DCCEE to explore the vision and the drivers for their new workplace. These formed the Guiding Principles for the project, around which all key design ideas were measured against. Being the Department whose roles and priorities are in delivering the Australian Government's climate change framework, sustainability was a key driver and it was quickly established that a 6 Star Green Star, World’s Best Practice, rating would be designed for (to be rated in 2014). An organic and authentic design was developed, representing the organic forms associated with nature and the authentic use of materials. Exposed concrete ceilings and columns are finished in raw form, complete with construction pencil notations. The base building ceilings were re-designed as more fluid lilypads, constructed from corrugated cardboard sandwiched between plywood. Lighting levels were reduced to ambient levels, supplemented by individual task lighting, substantially reducing energy usage. The two base building atria, which allow natural light penetration to the floors and assist in the natural ventilation / mixed mode conditioning air flow, also provided a perfect opportunity to introduce inter-tenancy stairs to the DCCEE fitout. Constructed in mild steel with a natural oil finish, suspended dramatically in the atria by mild steel rods, they provide staff quick connection throughout the office floors whilst decreasing elevator usage. The planning concept for the DCCEE workplace focuses on three key components:- · The Public – a space for public interaction & education · The Commons – the tangible and intangible aspects of the environment that no-one owns but everybody enjoys · The Individual – a variety of different components and settings provided to meet the needs of various functions and for each to complete their tasks The Public areas are located on the lower floors, allowing visitors ease of access without entering the staff’s workplace. Large meeting spaces have been designed to allow for meetings, industry briefings and training, all of which can be opened up to allow for the whole Department to come together. The Commons areas consist of connected shared DCCEE facilities and places where DCCEE staff can meet and collaborate, or share some social time. Meeting rooms of various sizes, collaborative areas for non-private meetings and discussions, utility zones and kitchen facilities have been located in areas that are shielded from the general workspace to minimise disruption to staff at their workpoints. The Individual DCCEE workplace has been designed as a flexible space, allowing for future change to occur with relative ease. Modular components can be disassembled and reused in new configurations, enhancing the sustainable nature of the workplace design. The form of the bespoke Woodhead-designed workstations embody the rethinking of one’s way of working. The configuration of the workstations create organic forms across the floor, with natural pockets of space providing free flowing circulation. The outward orientation of each desk and seat allows each staff member a perspective that maximises the natural light and views to the glazing. The materials selected throughout the fitout were based on their environmental qualities and authenticity. Orientated Strand Board replaced plasterboard