Seven17 Bourke Street / Metier3 Architects

© Trevor Mein

Architects: Metier3 Architects – Blair Lang
Location: Melbourne,
Project area: 16,000 sqm of retail
Photographs: Trevor Mein

© Trevor Mein

Located on the original Batman Hill in Melbourne ‘s Docklands precinct Seven 17 Bourke Street houses a complex mixed-use programme including 36,000 sqm of commercial A-grade office space, the Travelodge 290 room Hotel, 16,000 sqm of retail and 436 carparks over four levels. Sitting on the eastern edge of the Docklands precinct the building creates both a visual and physical connection between the street level activities to the West with the elevated link between the CBD and the Docklands stadium to the East. Seven17 Bourke becomes a nodal point in the pedestrian paths into and out of the Docklands, linking existing thoroughfares with Southern Cross station via a new bridge over Wurundjeri Way.

ground floor plan

Rising from the Southern edge of the site, a blanket of bronze finished in matt, satin and gloss, wraps up to envelope firstly the 14 story Hotel and then folds down and wraps over the 4-storey podium to create a public domain before terminating at the Bourke Street retail frontage. Pods pierce the fabric of the blanket to form windows in the Hotel rooms.

Protruding through the level 4 public domain on the podium the office tower proper rises a further 14 floors, sheared at alternate levels. The articulation of the facade aids in the mitigation of the `reverent Docklands winds, causing the wind to skirt around the building rather than down the face onto the public spaces. Sheathed in a skin of high performance glazing the facade is articulate firstly via an applied fit and secondly with a random fins – both of which assist in the reduction of glare and heat load internally.

© Trevor Mein
© Trevor Mein

Internally, the Office Tower offers a 9 story atrium allowing light to penetrate deep into the large 3,000 sqm floor plates. Intra-tenancy staircases span floor to floor within the atrium zone to allow quick and effective communication within the tenancy floors. A raised floor system facilitates underfloor displacement air conditioning enabling a degree of user control over their internal environment while also allowing communication services to be reticulated immediately to the desk. All help contribute to the accredited Greenstar Design Rating of 5 stars.

© Trevor Mein

Externally at street level both the Hotel and retail opportunities help active the laneway whilst the wide stair case leading from Aurora lane provides a thoroughfare for those traversing the site from Southern Cross station on the foot into the Docklands precinct. Landscaping within the public realms undulates between plantings, trafficable zones and seating in a variety of materials creating informal spaces for small groups or individuals: each space offering a framed view of the cityscape

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* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Seven17 Bourke Street / Metier3 Architects" 31 May 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • greenbeans

    Look at all the sharp angles! fwaaaaaaa

  • Galaxian

    Very nice, really. Congartulations!!!


    Apparently no one asked, “Wait. Why are we doing that again?” Would someone fill me in? I understand they rotated the floors to mediate the tension between the city grid and dockland grid. However, to alternate each hotel floor is simply whimsical design based on some retarded aesthetic drive. It seems everyone is trying to imitate the “chaos” and “irregularity” of nature, but has everyone forgot nature is not happenstance?

    Is architecture simply a visual fetish or… maybe, maybe, maybe a vehicle to advance human life? I know… tough question.

    • jus

      they did say that “The articulation of the facade aids in the mitigation of the `reverent Docklands winds, causing the wind to skirt around the building rather than down the face onto the public spaces”… it would be interesting to see the wind studies that prove that theory.
      Otherwise I think, we are Human, and we are creative, if functionalism and rationalism can be expressed artistically, why not? People have to look at this building for the next 100 years, if its aesthetic promts discussion on architecture then we learn and we evolve.


        Good point. I am not arguing against creative/artistic expression. It is hard for me to believe the wind mitigation was the key driver for the alternating floor plates. If it really was, then wonderful. Express and emphasize it. But, it seems that the aesthetics were driving their decisions. Hypothetically, maybe one said to another, “how about we shift the floor plates to break up the facade?” other says, “i like the way that looks, that might also allow us to address the grid shifts and wind current”. Aesthetics, it seems, came before reason.

        Maybe it is just me but I don’t see any merit or virtue in aesthetics. Yes, we should strive for beautiful constructs but if beauty is synonymous with Truth, then reason has to come first. If aesthetics appear for the sake of aesthetics, something can not be beautiful.

        If the alternating floor plates are allowing people to live better lives and accommodating them better, then I would find their design beautiful. However, I just don’t see enough (and how much is enough is a great question) merit in their design and thus, find their aesthetic choices shallow. And finally, I’m frustrated because this architectural manifestation will pervert people’s views on architecture. I mean, it seems architecture has become nothing more than adding visual value to things…”for our eyes only”.


    • archi

      “…whimsical design based on some retarded aesthetic drive.”

      This is the mission statement of “The Melbourne School.”

    • Nick

      You take yourself seriously don’t you.

  • Pixbae

    Im tired of all the criticism towards architecture that seeks aesthetic. I don’t know, when was it declared that the architect was solely responsible for society’s progress, morality, etc. (whatevever comes to the mind of a “martyrizing” person)… SIGH like if these buildings represented the declining of humanity or something.

    Learn that for a building to finish being functional, it requires aesthetics, it requires that thing that makes it like to some and others not, because that’s what makes us human. There obviously must be a balance, but i didn’t know a freaking office building was responsible for the advance of human life…


      I believe beauty is universal. I also believe beauty is truth. So if a building is lying (as it is in this case), then it is not beautiful. It has a dishonest aesthetic. I love when architecture is expressive but a building’s personality should be a reflection of what it is doing.

      People will spend 1/3 of every day in this building. I do not think you would deny the incredible impact the built environment can have on someone’s wellbeing. Therefore, there is no excuse for this building not to be considered, reasoned and a positive influence.

      10 years from now will people care if the building has alternating plates and angles? Probably not. Aesthetically-driven designs all become antiquated and disliked. However, if the building is beneficial to be in and is an honest reflection of what it is doing, then, I believe, it will be relevant until people stop needing office buildings.

      • lemi

        I appreciate that you back down on aspects that effectively contest your point of view. Generally, i agree with your value system. I couldnt articulate what you’ve described. look forward to seeing more of your posts

  • Justin

    Don’t mean to be offensive – But I think you guys are really over analyzing what you do (especially you BENSTUKENBORG).
    I am not a architect but I work in the building and I love it. Everyone in my company loves working and they love the building. Why? Because it “looks cool” and it looks better than the other buildings around – nothing more. Other than that it doesn’t give me a better life or deal with inner emotional healing – It’s just a building – just a really nice one.


    Much of my criticism can be summed by the fact that archdaily either did not post or was not given interior shots of the building (except for one ambiguous one).

    Why don’t they show what the building like to be inside of? Is that not important? Is architecture reduced simply to what its exterior looks like? Is architecture nothing more than titanium cladding and fenestration details? Goodness.

    • Dr.Ed

      It’s just architecture, not a metaphor for the meaning of life
      Get one and perhaps this wont trouble you so much.

      • bLogHouse

        Not to become BEN’s advocate, but he never claims that architecture is a metaphor of anything.
        What he argues about is how the above design lacks truthfulness. He doubts the justifications of the architects’ formal decisions and I agree with him. The criticism here is not against aesthetics
        in general, but against aesthetics that is narrowed down to only the visual, while pretending to have other motives.