An archetype for humanising the business park
Our aim was to give Brindabella a social heart as an archetype for humanising and urbanising business parks.
Brindabella Business Park, typical of many suburban business parks, has a series of object buildings within bucolic landscaped grounds; however it has always lacked a central gathering space for the community. We sought to create a social heart, and demonstrate a case for humanising and urbanising business parks.
The site was an at grade carpark opposite a large grass playing field in the centre of Brindabella Business Park, between the park’s perimeter loop road and its primary internal pedestrian spine. Our client sought two highly flexible commercial office buildings suitable for both government and private tenants, and for single or multiple occupiers. This ‘ultra’ flexibility was a recipe for the generic building typology typical of business parks.
We extended the alignment of the park’s main vehicle entry, which bisects the site diagonally, to create a laneway through the site. This connects the loop road to the pedestrian spine and also provides an entry address for the buildings. To engage the playing field and pedestrian spine we created a triangular public space that is open and welcoming to passers-by. The resultant building forms integrate the playing field, park entry, loop road and pedestrian spine into a new pedestrian oriented urban ensemble.
The resulting complex geometric forms utilise a side-core and central atrium to create rectilinear plates separated by an interconnecting stair. The floorplate elements are individually expressed, articulating the buildings as a series of discrete forms separated by natural ventilation slots.
Inside, soft-cornered triangular atriums are lined with timber and animated with glass lifts. A light-reflecting ‘blob’ and perimeter skylight provide diffuse daylight through the interior, while reducing heat load and concealing return air and smoke exhaust systems. A series of intersecting circular elements at the base of the atrium creates a third space to sit, work or meet.
A civic scaled verandah with a floating canopy, supported by six-storey ‘super-thin’ steel columns, frames the playing field. This space creates a sympathetic scale to the playing field, while providing weather protection to the social heart. The canopy ‘floats’ off the buildings with an open perimeter strip. Retail tenancies activate the space while a field of trees with circular seating elements creates a space that anyone can come and enjoy.
Our aim was to humanise this building type, while relating to the aluminium and glass facades of the context. In place of the context’s bold colours and strong graphic sunshades, we used warm, natural materials with fine, human-scaled tectonic details. The ground floor is expressed with off-form concrete frames, creating a structural rhythm while incorporating shopfronts and entries. The office floors have horizontal steel channels with vertical sunshades in-between. The aerofoil profile sunshades are orientated on each facade for optimum solar protection, enabling highly transparent glazing to maximise visible light and connect occupants with nature.
In addition to natural ventilation and passive solar shading, the design has a 306kw/h photovoltaic array on the roof, making it Net Zero operational energy and achieving Gold WELL, 5-star NABERS, and 5 Green Star ratings.
Canberra Airport Group
Canberra | Ngunnawal Country, Australia
- Gold WELL certification
- 5-star NABERS rating
- 5 Star Green Star rating
- Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) ACT, Canberra Medallion Winner, 2023
- Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) ACT, John Andrews Award for Commercial Architecture, 2023