Brookfield Place redefines the Perth city skyline
Brookfield Place Perth, designed by HASSELL and Fitzpatrick + Partners, was officially opened tonight in a project that transforms the Australian city's central business district.
Five years after design work began, the Governor of Western Australia, His Excellency Malcolm McCusker, and the Lord Mayor of Perth, Lisa Scaffidi, unveiled a plaque and declared the development open.
The development is fully built, owned and operated by Brookfield. The centerpiece is a 45 storey tower, home to 3,000 employees of BHP Billiton, who were previously located across 24 different sites. BHP Billiton occupies 60,000 square metres of workplace on 34 floors, all designed by HASSELL.
The building is a strong, substantial presence on the Perth skyline. It is a confident assertion of BHP Billiton's key role in the city and in the economy of Western Australia.
The tower utilises its structural elements to create a clear simple statement with a system of super sized trusses to control lateral movement clearly visible on the east and west elevations. Although it sits on a podium, the tower has been designed to be seen from a number of selected points by people walking around the building. Glazed lifts move up and down the northern façade, passing through the lower level podium to arrive in the lobby. They are clearly visible from the surrounding city streets, particularly at night.
The BHP Billiton workplace was based on a strategic brief developed for BHP Billiton by HASSELL and workplace consultants DEGW.
"We set out to design a high performance, flexible environment that supports mobility, change, communication and knowledge sharing," said Caroline Diesner, who led the HASSELL workplace design team on the project. "It also had to be somewhere people enjoy working. BHP Billiton employees have responded very positively."
The workplace levels have floor to ceiling windows, offering exceptional views, including across the Swan River to the south. Nearly all employees are within 10 metres of natural daylight. Many are connected by internal stairs that link the working floors. The "top deck" Level 45 is a communal floor open to all employees. It offers a wide range of different spaces for individual working, casual meeting spaces and video conferencing facilities as well as areas for people to relax or eat their lunch.
Despite the scale of the tower, Brookfield Place provides a pleasing human scale experience at ground level. The tower sits behind a row of meticulously restored heritage buildings on St Georges Terrace that had been boarded up for 25 years.
Bars and restaurants have taken over the heritage buildings and a series of alfresco spaces behind them. Bridging elements link those spaces to the HASSELL designed public realm that leads to the office tower foyer and a high quality food court. The result is a precinct that brings new life into the central business district.
"In Perth we have an indoor-outdoor lifestyle, but until now we didn't have it in the centre of the city," said Andrew Low, HASSELL Project Leader for Brookfield Place. "Bringing life back into the city and activating the precinct from day to night was very important. Brookfield saw that this development could do just that and we worked closely with them to realise this vision."
Images courtesy of Brookfield
—Read more articles for September 2012
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