The Government Services Offices development is one of the key projects of the Revitalising Central Dandenong initiative, a major urban renewal project being led by Places Victoria and the Victorian State Government. Developed and built by Grocon, the challenge of this landmark development was to create a high standard of urban design and quality workplace in this outer-suburban region, and to assist in the rebirth of the precinct as a major mixed-use activity centre.
The building is fully occupied by four government departments, with more than 14,400 square metres of office space over eight levels, an underground car park and staff bicycle facilities. Corner pocket atria connect various departments vertically, enlivened by greenery and visible from the surrounding street scape.
Cantilevered upper levels provide solar shading to northern and eastern facades, while the building’s southern edges step back to allow sunlight penetration. Public engagement is achieved through large communal spaces, which have a strong relationship with the surrounding urban fabric. The public foyers are activated by retail, food and beverage, and community incubator spaces.
An innovative fritted facade provided an opportunity to fuse artistic and sustainability outcomes, enabling the glass to balance thermal requirements with a higher degree of transparency. The frit design, developed with graphic designers, combines traditional European, African and Asian cultural patterns into a single, seamless design, reflective of the richness and diversity of the region.
Hassell delivered the architecture, integrated fit out, landscape architecture and statutory planning services. All disciplines collaborated on key spaces including the communal landscaped roof terrace, or ‘loggia’, on level four, which is connected to a large conference facility. Conceptualised as a series of outdoor rooms, the loggia is clad in an intriguing timber batten screen, filtering sunlight onto the street below.
The project was awarded a 6 Star Green Star design rating from the GBCA, upgraded from a 5 Star brief due to good design practices with minimum ‘add-ons’. Strong collaboration with the Grocon team resulted in initiatives such as the timber salvaged sustainably from trees destroyed in the 2009 Black Saturday bush fires. Other sustainability features include an underfloor air distribution system, rainwater and grey water retention and re-use, solar hot water and waterless urinals.