Site One / Elenberg Fraser

© Tony Miller

Architects: Elenberg Fraser Architecture
Location: Melbourne, Victoria,
Project Management: Baracon
Civil Engineering: Reeds Consulting
Structural Engineering: Robert Bird & Partners
Services Engineering: Norman Disney & Young
Building Surveyor: Garden Group
Fire Engineer: Umow Lai & Associates
Acoustic Engineering: Marshall Day
Wind Engineering: Mel Consultants
Environmental Engineering: ERM
Quantity Surveyors: Slattery Australia
Land Surveyor: Reeds Australia
Geotechnical Engineering: Golders Associates
Project year: 2007
Client: Pan Urban
Photographs: Tony Miller

© Tony Miller © Tony Miller © Tony Miller © Tony Miller

Built on a highly visible corner site in Melbourne’s Docklands, Site One is a six level commercial building mixing commercial office tenancies, flexible and fully serviced business facilities, and sohos (small office home office) that provide work/ live opportunities.

Completing the Base

The building anchors its edges to Bourke St and Stadium Drive, stepping back across the frontage to align at the top with the Watergate Towers. This completes the geometry of the block, and provides a commercial supplement to the residential program of the adjacent Watergate.

ground floor plan

Urban landscape oasis

The main building entry is from Stadium Drive via an open landscaped forecourt, which runs deep into the building via the main lobby. The forecourt is accessed across tenancies on two of its edges and the lobby along its internal face. The courtyard is the focus of the stepping roof form and the terraces. The network of stainless cables that wrap in and over the building, form a rich multi-levelled landscape and recreational space.

Network of movement referencing the historical

Site One is held back from the western boundary of the site to create an arcade space which spans the site. The incorporation of this connection establishes a historically Melbourne sense of the movement network of arcades, laneways and alleys. This also encourages movement across the site from Stadium Drive to Bourke St and the Docklands waterfront beyond. The north-south arcade links into the main lobby to form a network of vertical voids running across the site, collecting the circulation and entries to the commercial suites. In addition this void network forms fresh air ‘ducts’ across the site for ventilation, giving the arcade a sense of both the internal and the external.

© Tony Miller

The Program

Site One comprises 14 retail tenancies to the ground floor, 24 serviced office suites, 29 strata offices and 73 sohos to the upper levels. Facilities within the building at ground level add retail and café functions to the wider precinct, enabling surrounding building occupants to use, enjoy and move through the site on a daily basis and add to the public experience of the site. The Business Club is located within level 1 and comprises integrated business facilities such as secretarial and printing services, meeting and board room facilities and informal and presentation lounges. The sohos are fully wired for high bandwidth cabling, and incorporate wi-fi LAN connections. Up-to-date databased website services are also provided with R&D and technical support for all businesses within Site One.

© Tony Miller

The project brings integrated ESD initiatives to the small commercial tenancy. Glazed arcades and full height voids are utilised as fresh air, supply and exhaust ‘ducts’ to the individual offi ce shells. This also provides natural ventilation to public areas, ensuring temperature comfort levels are maintained in all public and private spaces. The building façade incorporates operable sections of glazing to aid passive ventilation.

Site One presents a fl exible commercial model to the Docklands precinct, referencing a fi ner grain of urban experience that is historically very Melbourne, through an iconic building that is ‘in and of’ its site.

Cite: "Site One / Elenberg Fraser" 04 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 22 May 2015. <>
  • Dustin

    I really like some parts of this project, the main picture is beautiful. The floorplans seem very forced though, and parts of it look quite tacky.

  • Uli

    We designed this facade at 2000 at OMAAsia/RAD, based on our OMA Lille Congessexpo. It is a beautiful design, and we are happy, if offices take reference to this.

  • The Hawk

    Are you telling us this is a copy uli?

  • Lucas Gray

    Herzog and de Meuron also did a couple of facades very similar to this a few years ago.

  • c. wee

    brings us to a question inherent in a lot of works now -

    when is it a ‘copy’ and when is it an ‘inspiration’?

  • Uli

    @The Hawk
    No I am not saying that. I am just saying, there are interesting designs in architecture already, which should appear more often in built projects. Seeing a few variations on those can also help to compare costs, detail solutions, modularity etc.

  • james

    nice sunset photos

  • http://arthas0316 darkfray

    Agree,the photo is wondful!