National commendation for commercial architecture

This is an article from the Architecture Australia archives and may use outdated formatting



The speculative office building, developed for unknown tenants, presents architects with very particular challenges – to create a marketable “brand” while also providing real amenity to its future occupants. Part of the Digital Harbour precinct in Melbourne’s Docklands, 1010 LaTrobe Street, tackles these challenges head-on, with a sophisticated, even savvy, alacrity.

The generic grid of the conventional curtain wall is subverted by incorporating an optical illusion (Dr Richard Gregory’s “cafe wall” illusion), whereby the horizontal lines appear to slope and shift. As a result the building demands a second glance, declaring its intention to transcend the generic, and promoting a reaction from passers-by – did I really see that?

The interior also challenges expectations. An intensely coloured and lit lobby space offers an alternative to the genteel conventions of stone and glass. It is not “corporate”, but is deeply corporate, as the workplace evolves and contemporary businesses seek a change in what they offer to their staff.

Within the tight budget of the speculative project, the architects and developers have also achieved remarkably high levels of sustainability, particularly in terms of energy and water consumption. In tenancy areas, occupants have the advantage of exceptional views of the city and the docks, and here the conventional grid ceilings have been dispensed with, exposing structure and services. This simple strategy shifts the experience of the office areas towards the “studio”, an effect not possible within the convention of the 2700-mm “sandwich”.

A “brave” strategy in the speculative market has been rewarded with a fully tenanted building, proving that good design, even design outside of accepted conventions, can find its audience.

1010 Latrobe Street

ARM—project director Stephen Ashton; design director Howard Raggatt; project architects Jesse Judd, Lisa Cummins, Martine de Flander, Alan Kueh, Antony McPhee, Jeremy Stewart, Greg Watt.
Watson Moss Growcott.
Norman Disney and Young.
Connell Wagner.
Rush/Wright Associates.
NDY Light.
Building surveyor
Philip Chun and Associates.
Cost consultant
Rider Hunt.
Digital Harbour.
Baulderstone Hornibrook.
Peter Bennetts.



Published online: 1 Nov 2007


Architecture Australia, November 2007

More archive

See all
August issue of LAA out now August issue of LAA out now

A preview of the August 2019 issue of Landscape Architecture Australia.

Houses 124. Cover project: Garden Room House by Clare Cousins Architects. Houses 124 preview

Introduction to Houses 124.

Architecture Australia September/October 2018. AA September/October 2018 preview

Local and global recognition: An introduction to the September/October 2018 issue of Architecture Australia.

The August 2018 issue of Landscape Architecture Australia. August issue of LAA out now

A preview of the August 2018 issue of Landscape Architecture Australia.

Most read

Latest on site