JOURNAL/ Enduring Architecture/2018


Building a legacy

Celebrating 165 years of continuous practice


The long view | On work that matters

 “We approach our projects with the belief that the impact of our work matters”

Cate Cowlishaw

Studio Director, Bates Smart

Studio Director Cate Cowlishaw examines Bates Smart's doctrine and how this has underpinned our longevity.

"Why do some companies endure; reinventing themselves to match their times, while others fall by the wayside? Is there an inherent quality that gives them the agility and versatility to continually reinvent themselves?

"Bates Smart was founded in 1853 and as a 165 year old practice, we approach our projects with the belief that the impact of our work matters. We understand that vision today leads to the legacy of tomorrow, and we are continually building on a culture of passion for design and a pursuit of excellence that has typified every generation of Bates Smart.

"We have been fortunate to work with many clients, including some of Australia’s oldest businesses, who have been equally farsighted about the legacy they leave behind. Our collaborations with them have given us an insight into the positive impact of longevity and led to paradigm shattering projects such as the Victorian State Library, ICI House, the Royal Children’s Hospital and the Australian Embassy in Washington.

"Many of today's successful businesses also aim to leave a positive impact on the built environment. Bates Smart is currently working on a number of tall timber buildings including the tallest engineered timber building in Australia with Lendlease. 25 King, Brisbane, is part of the next generation of workplace that enhances wellbeing and productivity while having a strong environmental benefit. The combination of an Australian vernacular with leading edge technology creates site specific and innovative tall buildings that connect with nature, these will be the landmark buildings of our future.

"The management expert and one of Forbes Magazines “100 Greatest Living Business Minds”, Jim Collins, believes every great organization demonstrates the characteristic of “preserve the core, yet stimulate progress”.

"This attitude can be seen in the Bates Smart approach to both our projects and our practice – retaining the essence of a typology and a business, while continually challenging and progressing their relevance to contemporary demands."

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Transformational Design | The Club Stand, Victoria Racing Club


 “ The completion of The Club Stand marks one of the most exciting times in the VRC’s history ”

Amanda Elliott

Victoria Racing Club Chairman

The Club Stand for the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) opened its doors for the first official race, the Sofitel Girls’ Day Out on September 15th.

VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott said the Club is delighted that the $128 million state-of-the-art grandstand hospitality facility designed by Bates Smart has reached this significant milestone ahead of its hallmark events in the spring racing season.

“The completion of The Club Stand marks one of the most exciting times in the VRC’s history and we look forward to officially opening it to VRC Members and their guests in full for the first time on AAMI Victoria Derby Day.”

“We congratulate Multiplex on its success in bringing Bates Smart’s vision for The Club Stand to life. The Club Stand is a statement venue that will change event experiences forever and become the setting for the next generation of racegoers to enjoy racing differently,” said Elliott.

We look forward to bringing you extensive coverage of the design process and final photography in the next issue of our Journal.

View the drone footage of this impressive new building.

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City Making | A vision for Sydney Stadium

 “ Investment in cultural infrastructure is an integral part of creating a global city”

Philip Vivian

Director, Bates Smart

Philip Vivian's Vision for Sydney Stadium proposes a new 45,000 seat stadium over Sydney's Central Station railyard.

The Colosseum in Rome established the concept of the stadium as a public space embedded in the fabric of the city; a monumental piece of infrastructure for public spectacle. In modern times however, with the advent of the motor vehicle and the suburbs, stadiums became mono-functional objects, isolated on the periphery of the city and surrounded by car parking.

Today a renaissance is underway, with stadiums once again being integrated into the city fabric and acting as catalysts of urban renewal. Stadiums, such as Camden Yards in Baltimore and Docklands Stadium in Melbourne, are anchors for entertainment districts and have reintroduced urban spectacle into our cities.

The NSW State Government proposes to demolish the Moore Park Stadium and to replace it with a new stadium on the same site.

The relocation of Moore Park Stadium to Central Station Railyards has major public and economic benefits for Sydney and NSW over the NSW current proposal:

1. Public Transport
Stadiums are required to be accessible to vast numbers of people in a short period of time. Central Station is the most accessible public transport node in NSW.

2. Urban Renewal
A stadium over Central Railyards would create an ideal link between Surry Hills and Chippendale and anchors a vibrant new precinct.

3. Major Events and Urban Spectacle
Embedding a stadium in the fabric of the city creates an urban spectacle, enhancing the experience of attending events, promoting Sydney and injecting revenue into secondary businesses.

4. Value Capture
We propose that the development rights for Central Railyards be provided in return for the construction of a new stadium. Not only does this off-set the cost of the stadium to Government, it also provides a revenue generating catalyst to attract further development.

5. More Park for Moore Park
There are benefits for the existing Moore Park Stadium, which can continue to operate during construction of the new stadium without interruption; and upon completion the Moore Park Stadium and surrounding carpark can be returned to public parklands.

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Learning from the past to build the future

Through the decades Bates Smart has delivered timeless, yet transformational, designs that have helped to define and shape our cities, both now and into the future.

Bates Smart Directors, Brenton Smith, Matthew Allen and Julian Anderson share their favourite buildings from our 165-year history.

Brenton Smith | MLC, Sydney, 1938
The MLC Building has always been one of my most loved buildings in Bates Smart’s history.

It is possibly the most beautiful lobby the practice has delivered – the art deco lifts, the symmetrical movement of the green and brown flooring and the subtle mood lighting creates such a grand sense of arrival.

Matthew Allen | Wilson Hall, University of Melbourne, 1956
Wilson Hall evokes so many fond memories of my early days – it’s literally the place where I began my career in architecture. Many of my most significant moments as a student were held in this room – from university exams to my graduation ceremony – I still remember looking up and seeing the striking mural The Search for Truth as I climbed the stairs in my graduation gown.

The building was ahead of its time for an educational institution with its Scandinavian inspired, post-war International style and use of birch timber paneling. I recommend any budding architectural student visit Wilson Hall to see one Australia’s great buildings of the mid-20th century.

Julian Anderson | 180 Thomas Street, Sydney, 2014
I started working on 180 Thomas Street soon after we had won the design competition.

Transgrid, a client we continue to work with today, appreciated the clever design concept that overcame the challenge of building a new building on top on an existing core. This allowed the floorplate to carefully cantilever beyond the existing building. The lifts are encased in glass, animating the west façade with light and movement.

It’s such a rare yet enjoyable experience to see a project through its entire lifecycle: from design, documentation through to the final build.

180 Thomas Street is certainly a more subtle, diminutive building than many of the other projects designed through our 165-year history, but it continues to be appreciated and enjoyed by all those that engage with it today.

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Smart Talks | Sydney


Alpha Metropolis

The first of our Smart Talk Sydney series in celebration of 165 years took place on September 11. 'Alpha Metropolis' faced down the future with the help of our 21st century prophets. Special thanks to: David Rolls, Lendlease; Dr Gene Sherman, Sherman Centre for Culture & Ideas; Dr Rebecca Huntley, Writer & Social Trends Researcher and Georgia Vitale, Arup, and our moderator, Philip Vivian.

View the event images

To kick off the discussion our panel considered the following position:

Our future city needs to be as equitable as it is dense, as humane as it is data driven, an environment in which a diverse population can thrive. Enduring architecture comes from transformative thinking. Like our founders before us, we ask what it takes to create a model metropolis – the next level city that is relevant for the imminent Generation Alpha that is yet to be born and experience their future world.

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Bates Smart Timeline


165 Years of enduring architecture

Transformational design; city making; environmental solutions; craft & materiality and redefining density are objectives that have defined the Bates Smart practice and ensured our continuity throughout the past 165 years.

This timeline captures some of the more significant projects from past decades, connects with key moments in history and represents the evolution of the company name. If you are visiting our studios you will see that we've installed a timeline exhibition incorporating our work, from 1853 through to projects that are yet to be built and each defined by one or more of these objectives

View the exhibition timeline booklet here

Environmental Solutions | Timber Talks


Sharing Timber expertise

With four cross laminated timber buildings under development in the studios, Philip Vivian and Basil Richardson are preparing a series of knowledge sharing presentations on designing and building with new timber technology.

Both Philip and Basil will be presenting at the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) 2018 Middle East Conference 'Polycentric Cities, The Future of Vertical Urbanism'. Philip will be participating in the panel session: 'Tall Timber 2030: Where Will We Be? Basil will presenting 'Tall Timber x2: Towers in Brisbane and Melbourne' as part of the 'Tall Timber: Asia & Australia' Session. The emphasis on timber demonstrates its renewed relevance in contemporary environmental construction.

25 King, Brisbane, shown here, reaches practical completion at the end of this month.

Redefining density through innovation

The world’s fourth slimmest tower is under construction

On track for completion next year, Collins House, Australia’s slimmest tower is progressing well with the 57 storey tower now constructed to level 38. Seamlessly stitched into the historic fabric of Melbourne's central business district, the project is a case study on the potential that can be unlocked when we challenge the way we develop our cities.

Read how the technologically innovative construction enabled this project to be built in this essay by Kristen Whittle.

Considered an architectural and engineering innovation, the building, located at 464 Collins Street, Melbourne features 263 luxury apartments with the fit-out of the lower levels currently underway.

The project also incorporates the restoration of the original Huddart Park building, (known today as the Makers Mark building) designed in 1908, transforming the foyer with original details and character of a luxury club.

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A legacy of redefining density

 “ Challenging the height limit in North Sydney”

Essay by Mathieu Le Sueur

In 1957 Bates smart delivered the first contemporary office building to North Sydney. It represents the largest commercial office building in Australia at the time, and the largest steel structure in the southern hemisphere.

The design heralded the arrival of the new Modern workplace to Australia and stood as North Sydney’s tallest commercial office building for decades. Bates Smart is once again building the tallest commercial office building in North Sydney, and how the design will deliver an enduring legacy for North Sydney to last the next 60 years.

When completed in 1957, the opening of the MLC Centre heralded the arrival of the Modern workplace to North Sydney. Designed by Bates, Smart & McCutcheon, it delivered large, open plan horizontally connected floorplates with a detached core, allowing each floorplate to achieve an abundance of natural light with no ‘C’ grade commercial office space – exceeding standards achieved by most Premium and A grade commercial office buildings constructed today. For decades it stood as the tallest building in North Sydney and gained many pioneering accolades during its construction, including the first use of curtain wall façade in Australia, the first use of modular steel prefabricated units, and on completion was reported to be both the largest commercial office building in Australia at 42,000 sqm in addition to the largest steel structure in the southern hemisphere.

The legacy of Bates Smart delivering large contemporary workplaces in North Sydney continues. In 2016, Bates Smart designed 177 Pacific Highway, a 31 storey A grade commercial office building of 45,000 sqm with North Sydney’s first public Wintergarden at its base. This building achieved the new maximum height in North Sydney of 195 metres; without any overshadowing of the public domain. And this year in 2018, construction is proceeding rapidly on 1 Denison Street, a 60,000 sqm premium grade commercial office building that will once again set the height record of 212 metres.

Prior to Bates Smart’s involvement, 1 Denison Street had an approved DA with a stepped envelope achieving 45,000 sqm of NLA and a height of 177 metres. Bates Smart started the design afresh with a softened form incorporating a distinctive gentle taper. The taper is a fundamental driver of the design enabling the building height to be increased by 35 metres, with an additional 15,000 sqm NLA to be achieved, while increasing building separation to the adjacent residential building. Nine Entertainment Company (Channel 9) quickly signed on as the anchor tenant and the design was amended to include television broadcasting studios to enable them to relocate their headquarters.

Densification of North Sydney is being supported by massive State and Local Government infrastructure and public domain initiatives. The new Victoria Cross metro station will be immediately adjacent, transforming accessibility in the precinct, while Denison Street will be closed to traffic as part of the North Sydney Laneways Masterplan. 1 Denison Street will complement the Council’s vision creating a new through site link at ground level, in addition to lining Denison Street with active food and beverage uses with outdoor seating spilling out into the new pedestrianized public domain.

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Craft + Materiality | 161 & 171 Collins Street, Melbourne

 “ Each atrium filters beautiful natural light into the building, but they behave differently and encourage varied responses and interaction from visitors”

Grant Filipoff

Associate Director, Bates Smart

Collins Street, Melbourne’s most famed and highly sought-after address for premium retail, commercial workplaces and dining experiences, is the location for two of Bates Smart’s most resolved atriums, situated at 161 Collins Street and 171 Collins Street.

Both buildings are designed with lobby areas that provide an abundance of light, via atrium spaces, and create a sense of connection for the occupants, using carefully selected materials to set the mood.

However, each space evokes varied outcomes for their respective buildings.

Considered one of Melbourne’s most beautiful buildings, the T&G Building, at 161 Collins Street, is now complete following a two year-long upgrade working with developer, Pembroke.Bates Smart Associate Director, Grant Filipoff explains: “161 Collins Street offers an activated space that is inviting and engaging. Due to the sheer scale of the floorplate, it was important to find opportunities to activate the ground floor plane, in particular the central atrium, to encourage movement and the use of this space by tenants.”

Grants adds that the lobby is broken up into three distinct zones within the floorplan and articulated using different materials. Bluestone is applied to the lower ground floor continuing the laneway experience from Flinders Lane into the auditorium space. The main circulation area off Collins Street features marble, while the atrium space features a combination of honed marble, natural timbers and brickwork, signaling a transition into a more outdoor experience.

“The outdoors has been brought into the central atrium to create an oasis-like experience for the occupants, with planting introduced to offer a calming effect.”

“The combination of materials including timber, brickwork, paving, and careful selection of furniture with various textures including soft fabrics and leathers, enhance the outdoor experience and brings warmth in the atrium space.”

By contrast, the 171 Collins Street tower is set behind the historic Mayfair building. Designed for Cbus Property, and completed in 2013, the atrium provides a calm space, encouraging respite from the bustling activity of both Collins Street and Flinders Lane.

Upon entry, visitors are greeted by beautiful travertine-clad walls, black steel detailing, and a stunning nine-storey glass atrium that filters natural light, creating both a dramatic focal point and a calming atmosphere.

As Grant explains, “The design carefully connected the two buildings with an atrium housing the concierge and waiting lounge while also performing as a transitional space for tenants to experience between the two buildings. It’s a juxtaposition to 161 Collins Street where there is deliberately limited seating to encourage occupants to flow through." Each share common qualities, housing some of Australia’s most significant corporates including Google, Treasury Wine Estates and BHP Billiton.

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Smart Talks | Melbourne


Preservation vs Progression

A lively panel discussion around the subject of preservation versus progression took place in Bates Smart's Gallery space in Melbourne on September 5. The discussion was broken into three main viewpoints from a heritage perspective – the individual’s own favourite buildings, a sample heritage building discussion, and the city as a whole.

Special thanks to our panel: Chris Kakoufas, Cbus Property; Peter Lovell, Lovell Chen; Romilly Madew, Green Building Council of Australia; Professor Julie Willis, University of Melbourne and Tim Leslie, Bates Smart (Moderator)

View the event images


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