by Zohra KhanAug 29, 2022
Spotlighting the context of its native flora as the name suggests, the last building of the Botanicca Corporate Park scheme at the edge of Swan street in Melbourne, Australia, has now come to life. Taking inspiration from the indigenous vegetation of the area, specifically the river red gum trees, Australian architecture firm Gray Puksand has weaved this natural context subtly into the building.
Botanicca’s newly designed and opened Building 3 builds upon the established precinct, and attempts to narrate a story of its immediate environment while reminiscing the green-scape that existed over 200 years ago. The two-tower design concept for Building 3 draws upon the master-plan by respecting the original urban design solution and adding a new urban edge to the estate that fronts Swan Street.
The building’s slender appearance with the skin of perforated cladding of sun breakers enables the seamless penetration of daylight into the spaces connecting it to the surrounding parkland. “Our solution leverages the wonderful position that Botanicca has in the inner-city of Melbourne,” says Gray Puksand partner Nik Tabain. He adds, “The design provides two separate towers with large floor plates, designed strategically to grant all access to the surrounding views.”
The forms of the two towers have been designed such that it appears that they are subtly peeling away from each other, while articulated as a connected pair. The two structures have a clear break in their massing that produces a scale creating a landmark-like position of the building. This also contributes highly to the urban design presence.
The most visually appealing aspect in the entire design, which makes the building stand out, becomes the perforated skin that the building has been clad with. The design of Botanicca has been sensitive to its natural environs considering the human experience, especially the river red gum trees and an existing scar tree. “Colours that are found in the river red gums are used to provide a multi-coloured and multi-faceted façade. We aim to bring back to the site the colours that existed over 200 years ago,” says Tabain.
The coloured, perforated sunshades and their support systems inspired by the native flora in the area become the uniform architectural vernacular across the towers. The health and wellbeing of its occupants are of utmost importance, hence there has been a keen focus on internal air quality, natural ventilation and sunlight.
Softening the Swan street front façade and creating an appeal was also believed to be critical to the success of the project. Steve Lee, Manager for the developer Growthpoint, says, “Existing buildings within the park are inward facing, ignoring the public realm. This site provided an opportunity to activate Swan Street and contribute to the urban realm. Hence, a series of relationships were considered for the frontage: between people and place, people and planet, and people and other people.”
The space between the two towers has been used as an area of activity for the building’s occupants while the rooftop has a garden and a half-size basketball court. A detailed double-height ground floor lobby is open to the Swan street through the day as well as the night, with appropriate lighting to emphasise the space.
Taking inspiration from the local flora, respecting its urban realm and growing landscape, the building sits within the existing master-plan to not only interact with the surrounding through a porous skin but also provide a landmark of a building for commercial services.
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Project size: 22800 sqm
Completion date: 2020
Architect: Gray Puksand
Project management: SEMZ Property Advisory & Project Management
Leasing: Colliers International Australia and JLL
Builder: Hacer Group