Mother Nature’s best at work
What do Google, Amazon and Microsoft have in common? They all use biophilic design in their workplaces. The trending design uses aspects of the natural world to improve the health and wellbeing of the buildings we live and work in.
Biophilic design delves deeper than simply popping a plant in a corner. Its principles are deeply embedded within the design from the outset, encouraging wellness, attracting talent, increasing retention and inspiring productivity and creativity for all who work and use the space.
Here is a selection of our favorite buildings that go above and beyond with their biophilic approaches…
One Central Park, Sydney
Any list of the best biophilic buildings in Australia would be remiss without this inclusion. One Central Park was completed a few years back in 2013, and it’s still just as impressive thanks to its envelope of green plantings and sustainability focus.
Highlights include a public park that climbs the side of the floor-to-ceiling glass towers, a façade with 250 species of Australian flowers and plants, and vines and foliage that spring out between floors. Located in Chippendale and developed as a joint venture between Frasers Property and Sekisui House, the project is literally a green building veiled in green living walls brought to life by French architect Jean Nouvel and French artist and botanist, Patrick Blanc.
1 Malop Street, Geelong
WorkSafe Victoria’s new headquarters is a shining example of one of Australia’s healthiest and most sustainable workspaces. Developed by Quintessential Equity and constructed by Built, it’s the first building in Australia to be awarded a WELL Gold Pre-certification by the International WELL Building InstituteTM (IWBI™) in both categories – Core and Shell (Gold), and New and Existing Interiors (Gold).
It contains excellent biophilic design principles: multiple open-air and communal spaces, a rooftop terrace, and more than 2000 indoor plants designed to absorb contaminants. Furthermore, natural light and light fittings minimise disruption to the body’s circadian rhythm, avoiding eye strain and headaches. With a palette of finishes inspired by nature, this building also features floor-to-ceiling glazing, low toxicity finishes, high-grade air filters, and a considered layout that offers external views.
12 Creek Street (The Annex), Brisbane
Due to be completed in early 2020, this commercial building offers a breath of fresh air in workplace design. By Dexus, the design is informed by the site’s unique setting amongst heritage-listed fig trees, where nature is woven through the building from inside out. While a laneway scheme activates the ground floor, the vertical village above it includes a breathing façade across six levels, which promotes a genuine connection with the outdoors.
But it’s the highly bespoke, landscaped sky terrace on the tenth floor that really impresses, with vertical trellis, greenery and cascading gardens. This building offers a connected workplace for its occupants to experience ‘being under the canopy’ or ‘looking through the foliage’ according to project architects, BVN Architecture, and a unique environment for its workers.
200 George Street, Sydney
Mirvac and AMP Capital’s EY Centre at 200 George Street in Sydney is one of Australia’s most environmentally advanced and sustainable buildings. Mirvac has its headquarters there and received a Gold certification from the International WELL Building Institute, the first WELL Certification in Australia. As part of its response, Mirvac developed a biophilia plan incorporating nature’s patterns throughout the tenancy design.
There are about 1,170 plants throughout, which equates to more than one plant per person. Furthermore, 75 per cent of workstations are located within 7.5 meters of a window, increasing access to natural light. And lights are programmed for varying brightness and darkness at appropriate points throughout the day to maintain circadian rhythms.
Written by Annie Reid