Location: Melbourne Victoria, Australia
Photographs: Ben Hosking, John Gollings
The Former CUB Brewery site is the location for one of Melbourne’s most significant and ambitious developments. Located at a key urban site, the project has been the subject of long discussion and speculation, culminating in the multi-faceted and multi-authored scheme now underway.
Studio505 were approached by Grocon to design the Development Office (Pixel), the last building to be conceived on the site, and yet the first to be built. Pixel also claims the other two extremes, namely being the smallest building with the biggest expectations.
The brief for Pixel was to provide a 6 Star Greenstar Carbon Neutral home for the Development team and Sales Offices, a display suite area and a green roof top viewing area, for the duration of the development’s construction and sales phase.
Behind this very functional programme is the opportunity to enhance Grocon’s Greenstar Credentials, and provide a cost effective and exemplary building that reflects the standards Grocon will demand in the remaining projects on the site. studio505 have designed a very simple and coherent office building, which is woven together from a series of integrated environmental systems. With Umow Lai, studio505 have sought to deliver the ultimate ESD rateable performance within a coherent architectural product, worthy of the design aspiration of the overall site.
Pixel features one of the most sophisticated water treatment and utilisation systems ever to be built. The building was designed to be water balanced meaning that it if Melbourne maintains the ten year average rainfall levels from 1999-2009, Pixel will be self-sustainable for water supply. From the extensive native green roof collecting rainwater, to the creation of the perimeter planter’s balcony, Pixel is not simply a container to collect ESD ideas, but instead a laboratory and holistic tapestry of symbiotic systems. These include one of the most publicly visible elements, being Pixel’s facade. The facade is a system of perimeter planters, fixed shading louvers, double glazed window walls and solar panel shading. studio505 developed a complex yet simple patterning system to engender the project with a human scale ‘flow’ of textures allowing the reading of the various elevations, with their differing functional and ESD requirements and materials, to espouse coherency through fluidity.
studio505 have sought to ensure that Pixel engages with the low rise nature of the northern end of the Brewery site. Through the manipulation of scale, the facade, the shading and the patterning, the Pixel design seeks to embody and enable the vast urban phase change about to take place on this site over the coming years.
Pixel has achieved a perfect score of 100 under the Greenstar rating system, with 75 points the benchmark for 6 Star Greenstar. It gained an extra five points for innovation, equating to world leadership. Included in Pixel’s five innovation points were points for carbon neutrality, a vacuum toilet system, the anaerobic digestion system and reduced car parking. Pixel is also being assessed under the USA LEED and UK BREEAM rating systems, aiming to exceed the highest score yet achieved under either of those tools.
Located on a key urban site at the former CUB Brewery, Pixel is one of Melbourne’s most significant and ambitious projects. Scoring a perfect 105 Greenstar points, Pixel is Australia’s first carbon neutral office building, generating all its own power and water on site.
The most publicly visible element is Pixel’s colourful facade. A system comprising of Living Edge perimeter planters, fixed shading louvers, double glazed window walls and solar panel shading. Creating a harmonious surface that wraps around all sides of the building, giving Pixel a vibrant and unique identity.
Pixel is aiming to achieve the highest environmental rating ever for buildings using the US LEED, UK BREEAM and Australian Greenstar environmental rating schemes. To put that into context, there are approximately 740,000 buildings registered worldwide under those three rating schemes, and Pixel would be at the forefront of all of them.