JOURNAL/ Workplace


March 2015

Winner - WAN Commercial Award
180 Thomas Street wins hard fought international competition

 “A worthy addition to Sydney's fast-emerging architectural precinct of Haymarket”

Commercial Award Jury

WAN Awards

180 Thomas Street, Sydney has won the WAN Commercial Award in a hard-fought competition. The WAN Awards are the world's largest architectural awards program attracting entries from around the world.

The WAN Commercial Award saw a huge range of fantastic projects, this category celebrates and promotes the best in international architecture for commercial use with entries from offices, retail, hotels and tourism resorts.

The jury found the project to be a clever response to its urban context "an urban repair which is a challenge in itself and very well executed indeed."

A jury of three international architects judged the best commercial completed projects in the UK: Earle Arney, Chief Executive of FKA Architecture + Interiors, Jacqueline Beckingham, Director and Design Leader at Benoy and Stephen Pey, Associate Director of EPR Architects.

Visit the WAN Awards

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Jan/Feb 2013

Clayton UTZ, Canberra
Bates Smart's Latest Project for Leading Law Firm

Legal Neighbourhood

With views stretching over Lake Burley Griffin to Parliament House it is not surprising that the Clayton Utz, Canberra team are making full use of their spectacular new breakout. It has fast become the social ‘hub’ and first choice for informal meetings. Long gone are the days when the ‘tea room’ was just that, today’s breakout spaces boast some of the prime office real estate.

This latest project for leading law firm Clayton Utz is located on the top floor of the new 6 Star Green Star Nishi Building in Canberra. Led by Simon Swaney the Bates Smart team have employed a blend of hospitality and workplace functionality to achieve efficient elegance which is well aligned with the Clayton Utz brand.

The integrated fitout has subtle design consistencies with the head office at 1 Bligh St, Sydney but it is the unique aspects of the base building architecture and the location that have strongly led the design. For instance, the reception backdrop references the woven materiality of the external facade of the building through a patchwork of lit cubes and the honest. robust use of materials. 

By rethinking the traditional legal office the team have created an exceptional workplace while minimising operational costs. Flexible features include a single accomodation standard to allow practice groups to reorganise without churn costs. Clients are also encouraged to make use of the new facilities.

Images by Richard Glover

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October 2014

180 Thomas Street, Sydney
New Office Building Resolves Complex Design Challenge

 “The Site Required a Special Response, Both to the Rich Local Historic Context and the Rapidly Development Built Environment”

Philip Vivian

Director, Bates Smart

Located on a prominent corner in the heart of Sydney’s bustling Haymarket, the 180 Thomas Street project was won through a City of Sydney Design Excellence Competition. The design achieved bonus height and FSR on the basis of design excellence.

The new commercial development and integrated workplace has responded to challenging site restrictions and a rapidly evolving urban context to deliver a worthy addition to Sydney’s fast-emerging architectural precinct of Haymarket.

The design challenge was to build on top of an existing building which had columns and a central lift core integrated into its original design restricting floorplate flexibility and reducing connectivity. Our solution was to place a series of steel transfer trusses on top of the existing structure. This allowed the floorplate to cantilever beyond the existing building, increasing the floor area and aligning with the street wall while also providing flexibility with the column grid.

A steel structure was chosen to avoid increasing the load on the existing structure. The lifts were relocated to the exterior of the building and enclosed in a vertical glass volume to express the building’s vertical movement while enlivening the Ultimo Pedestrian Network.

Bates Smart Project Director, Philip Vivian commented on the design form:

"Located diagonally across from the new Frank Gehry UTS building, the design needed a strong presence. The architectural form reinterprets the semi-industrial linear forms of historic Haymarket to create a contemporary building that respects the diverse scale and context of the area.

"The form is articulated into a series of seemingly random, stacked, horizontal volumes of varying heights. Each horizontal layer is expressed by a different solar shading system, creating a layered effect of stacked, linear boxes."

The lobby is a transparent glass volume beneath the building, between the lifts and original structure. A dramatic public artwork by Lucas Grogan on the building wall frames the lobby.

The building has achieved a 5 Star Green Star rating, incorporating passive solar shading, and chilled beam cooling.

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Aug-Sept 2014

A New Commercial Building for 151 Clarence Street, Sydney, Creates Premium Campus Space

 “A terrace level between the two volumes offers outstanding tenant amenity in terms of views and outdoor space”

Philip Vivian

Director, Bates Smart

The purpose of Bates Smart's Journal is to share both built and unbuilt work, with this in mind we are publishing a series of our recent studio competition work, starting with a new commercial building for Investa.

Bates Smart was invited to participate in a City of Sydney Design Excellence Alternatives competition for a commercial property at 151 Clarence Street. The site is adjacent to another Bates Smart project, the heritage Red Cross building at 155 Clarence Street.

Bates Smart's approach aimed to optimise the NLA of the new commercial building while maximising the urban, environmental and economic benefits of the development.

Bates Smart Director, Philip Vivian, talks about the team's design concept:

"Our vision employed warm, masonry materials to create a sensitive response to the scale and materiality of the immediate heritage context without resorting to mimicry.

"Within the podium we have inserted an atrium to create an interconnected campus work environment with excellent natural light distribution onto the commercial floorplates. On the upper levels, a glazed tower with panoramic views of Darling Harbour maximises daylight penetration into the atrium while creating a conference, skylobby and entertainment level with expansive outdoor terrace."

The terrace level adopts a dynamic W transfer structure which reconciles the economical structural grids utilised within the podium and tower floors.

At ground level, a new through site link connects Clarence Street to Kent Street via a generous two storey galleria which intersects with the 9 storey high naturally lit podium atrium.

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April 2014

Amadeus + Us

Amadeus Takes Off

Bates Smart's Sydney Studio is embarking on an exciting activity based workplace (ABW) fitout for the Amadeus Airline and Rail IT Group.

The Spanish based company is moving into 4,000sqm at Bates Smart's newly completed 180 Thomas Street, Sydney (pictured).

Workplace Strategist Kellie Payne comments:

'We undertook an extensive briefing process with Amadeus which early on showed strong evidence that there was a large appetite for workplace change and that an ABW workplace would suit their teams. The Amadeus workforce is increasingly nomadic both locally and globally, resulting in under-utilisation of space and emerging silos between teams.

A new ‘free range’ workplace will enable team members to embed themselves with their colleagues as required, respond rapidly to any issues or incidents, and share their knowledge to achieve the company’s vision to “shape the future of travel”.

We are excited to have the opportunity to take this project to the next stage with Amadeus and to see the design concepts developed through the briefing stage come to fruition. Our job was made considerably easier as the client was really impressed with the quality of our base building.'

The team are now in design development with the project due for completion in 2015.

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May-June 2014

V6 Concavo, Melbourne
In Progress

Work on Water

Concavo, part of the unique luxury residential development, Convesso Concavo, is currently under construction and due for completion in late 2015.

Purchaser interest remains strong with 90% of the apartments already sold and growing.

Together with its completed companion Convesso, the Concavo Tower will complete the Lend Lease/Bates Smart vision for this key waterfront site in Docklands.

Concavo also defines one urban edge of a waterfront park housing Melbourne’s newest public library and community centre.

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March 2015

Maddocks, Melbourne
Premium legal firm is moving house

Winning Wintergarden

Maddocks have chosen Tower D at Walker Group’s and Collins Square for their new workplace in Melbourne. The tower is under construction and Maddocks’ three floors will be ready for occupancy in late 2016.

The new workplace designed by Bates Smart will offer a more open work environment, designed to nurture the collaborative and focus workstyles of their legal staff. There will be a greater diversity of work settings to suit varied workstyles, with increased mobility supported by an advanced technology infrastructure. Staff will be better connected in the new workplace, working on floorplates double the size of their current floors at 140 William Street and connected by a dramatic spiral stair and generous atrium across the 3 levels.

Clients and staff will enjoy excellent amenity, including a client working lounge and a signature double-height wintergarden.

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Dec/Jan 2013

Celebration of Steel

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“When are you going to paint it?”

The rugged steel of the NSW Government Service Centre captures the quality of the surrounding Monaro plains but during construction many people wanted to know 'when are you going to paint it?'

Watch Bates Smart Director Philip Vivian talk about this AIA award-winning building that gets better with age.

Read more about the NSW Government Service Centre.

View video

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May/Jun 2013

NSW State Library
Smart Workplace

Bates Smart has been engaged to design 4,500 sqm of new staff workplace accommodation for the State Library of New South Wales.

A period of transformation at the library has prompted the change in staff accommodation and the SLNSW is taking this opportunity to create open, collaborative workspaces for its 320 staff over 4 levels of the Macquarie Street Wing.

Comprehensive workplace briefing is currently underway led by Associate Director Kellie Payn.


Feb/Mar 2014

171 Collins Street
Spectacular Launch

The New York on Collins

Melbourne's most beautiful new building on the block, 171 Collins Street, was launched in style late last year with an opening party hosted by the joint venture development partners, Charter Hall and Cbus Property.

The ‘black carpet’ event was held in the stunning crystalline foyer. Forty tonnes of low iron glass is cantilevered off three of the atrium walls, creating a veil of glass and light which in turn frames the tower, completing the fourth side of the atrium.

To celebrate the opening, the space was adorned with a 9m high chandelier. This installation was created out of silver mylar and inspired by the New York skyline after which it was named. 'The New York' was handmade by Confetti System, a creative collaboration between New York artists Julie Ho and Nicholas Anderson.

The 171 Collins Street journey to completion ended with a fitting celebration that night. To top off the evening, Charter Hall and Cbus Property were thrilled to announce that $78,500 was raised for the project charity, Youth Projects, throughout the course of the development.

Visit Bates Smart to read more about 171 Collins Street

Charter Hall

Cbus Property

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August 2013

Workplace Interiors
Evolution of the Workplace

Cultural Shifts

Bates Smart director Simon Swaney and Strategic Workplace Leader Kellie Payne talk to Inside magazine about the shifting conventions of corporate office design. 

Inside Magazine #77

November 2014

2014 Master Builders Award for Transgrid

The TransGrid Fitout in 180 Thomas Street, Sydney has won the Excellence in Resource Efficiency Award at the 2014 Master Builders Association of NSW Excellence in Construction Awards. Bates Smart designed the base building as well as the TransGrid Fitout.

The project is one of a handful to have achieved a 6 Star Green Star “As Built” rating by the Green Building Council of Australia, this represents 'World Leadership' in environmentally sustainable construction.

Congratulations to our colleagues at Built.

December 2014

Reflections on Moving House
Bates Smart Sydney Studio

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“We’ve managed to maintain a more intimate studio character which is a really important contribution to the practice culture”

Guy Lake


As the end of the first year in Surry Hills comes around, Bates Smart’s Sydney studio has put together a short film on the process of moving the practice to a new collaborative space and thoughts on being both client and architect.

“Buildings like this tell beautiful stories in their own right”, Brenton Smith.

View video here.

Commercial 2019

Cate Cowlishaw | Rising demand for fringe suburbs with character & amenity

“It's no longer about location, location, location, rather, it is finding the talent, talent, talent”

Cate Cowlishaw

Head of Business Development & Studio Director, Bates Smart

For many businesses, the decision about where their new workplace should be located is no longer location, location, location, rather, it is finding the talent, talent, talent.

As Enrico Moretti, Professor of Economics at the University of Berkeley highlights in The New Geography of Jobs, access to a talent pool is a significant driver of where businesses are now located. Talent, particularly the “black collar” talent which underpins the innovative and creative sectors, tends to shy away from the traditional corporate environment.

The new emerging “brain hubs” are increasingly fringe suburbs such as Richmond/Cremorne and Prahran in Melbourne, and Pyrmont and the perennial Surry Hills in Sydney.

Suburbs such as Cremorne are in demand for their gritty street life and access to public transport and cycling routes. Coupled with a mixed use and industrial heritage, the ingredients are there to develop a new creative hub that attracts a depth of talent, particularly in the technology sector.

As a result, building approvals have risen 220% in the City of Yarra, with Bates Smart alone currently undertaking five projects in the area. Projects such as Albert St combine contextual sensitivity with a high level of staff amenity including social hubs, collaboration zones and access to external space, maximizing the benefits of the location and ability to attract staff.

Similarly, in nearby Prahan, Bates Smart’s redevelopment of the Jam Factory is focused on the creative and technology sectors, including co-working providers. A vibrant, mixed use development, Jam Factory will create an ecosystem of destinational spaces. The “bump” interactions so important to innovation are facilitated, not just within businesses, but between both individuals and businesses across the broader precinct.

In Sydney, the shift of the city west triggered by Barangaroo has reinvigorated a suburb that combines the character spaces attractive to the black collar worker with the amenity of the CBD - Pyrmont. Bates Smart’s Workshop will create a vertical community that will allow cross pollination of ideas between the buildings’ inhabitants as well as tapping into the vibrant amenity the area delivers.

More than a decade ago, Richard Florida’s Rise of the Creative Class highlighted the importance of environments that encourage creativity in driving future economic growth. If our current projects are anything to go by, the future looks bright for the city fringe in our two major cities.

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