A relentless pursuit of technical excellence, a commitment to pushing boundaries and consistently challenging norms have been the driving forces in engineering firm Arup’s new Sydney Australia, office.
In a long-standing collaboration between design and engineering, HASSELL partnered with Arup to create a workplace where the exchange of knowledge and skills through learning and experimentation – central tenets of Arup’s work culture – are not only facilitated, but lived by all.
HASSELL was engaged early in the construction planning of Barrack Place in which Arup was both building engineer and future tenant. This presented Arup and HASSELL with the opportunity to influence the building’s architecture and engineering to align with their vision of the workplace interior.
HASSELL Principal Emily Moss said the brief from Arup was clear from the beginning.
“Arup knew that it wanted a space that would showcase its culture and expertise – a place where both staff and visitors are free to engage and interact without boundaries,” Emily said.
“To achieve this, HASSELL worked with Arup to design a workplace that is open and transparent, with a focus on physical and visual connection,” she said.
The heart of the new workplace is a four-storey void connecting all five floors of the tenancy. With striking horizontal and vertical views across and between floors, this centrepiece presents a clear view into Arup’s every day operations and sense of connection.
Arup’s desire to be open and authentic led to a planning model where exchange spaces are dispersed throughout the tenancy. These spaces sit adjacent to the void on all floors, each with a different focus, where lab spaces, workshops, meeting and collaboration zones become destinations driving connection and collaboration between Arup’s people, clients and partners.
The staircase, connecting exchange areas vertically, is a design and engineering feat – a cast concrete structure floating between floors. This visual manifestation of Arup’s heritage in ingenuity and honesty in design provides a fast connection between floors and teams, enhancing the activation and energy of the workplace.
Spanning the voids on two levels are bridges linking work zones via intermediary collaboration spaces. The bridges not only connect, but also reflect on the engineering origins of Arup and demonstrate its expertise in a range of disciplines.
Arup Principal and NSW Region Leader Andrew Pettifer said the new workplace is a perfect example of the power of integrating technical engineering and creative design, and is setting the benchmark for future Arup.
“Arup’s new Sydney office is the embodiment of a collaborative exchange of ideas, knowledge and skills between Arup and HASSELL, a workplace to demonstrate what can be achieved by pushing the boundaries of building capabilities and emerging technologies,” Andrew said.
HASSELL was engaged in 2013 to develop guidelines that would steer the process of developing, delivering and measuring the success of all Arup workplace projects in Australasia. The key objective was to define the type of workplace that will enable the business in its evolution by encouraging and instilling new attitudes and behaviours where needed, without losing what is valuable to the organisation. It focused on looking forward to the ideal future state, and defining the type of workplace that supports that vision.