The brief for 2 Southbank was to reposition the building as a 21st-century asset equipped to meet the demands of a shifting workplace landscape. The design needed to consider the provision of new types of space and new models of operation.
Buildings are moving away from a set and forget mentality, and service models that capture a flexible and holistic approach are gaining in popularity. The market wants spaces that can evolve and represent the ever-changing workforce ecology within commercial buildings, and the diversity and aspirations of tenants. Acknowledging that diversity in tenant mix contributes to a stimulating and healthy building community.
The refurbishment needed to attract a new breed of tenant – today’s savvy space users will not consider occupying buildings that fail to offer high-level service, value, and fluidity. Frasers Property Australia and GPT both recognised the need to offer a range of amenities that create unique user experiences. Tenants also see the opportunity to use the environment to reposition themselves based on who they co-locate with and the buildings they inhabit. The design creates an atmosphere that companies see as a positive reflection of their own brand and that they are happy to occupy and contribute to.
With the significant growth in co-working and flexible leasing models, building residents are now more diverse and transient. BVN needed to consider methods of how to engage these people, to make the building ‘sticky’.
The design blurs boundaries between commercial, retail and public realm; creating an experience that responds to social cues and users’ demands, in short, it is a place of the future.
The ideas embedded in the design are a first step in converting commercial office towers (and the lobbies that are often soulless expanses of stone designed as transition spaces) into spaces that are destinations within mixed-use precincts that merge work, life and play.
The extent of the work is focused on the ground floor, lift interiors, amenities and office floor renewal, but the result is much more than a facelift. It is a first important step in establishing a clear point of difference in a plethora of space providers who offer unremarkable commercial office space that is difficult to tell one from the other. 2 Southbank looks different, behaves differently and it has a social consciousness.