In 2006 we were selected to lead the design team, with Woods Bagot, as local excective architect, to implement a fit out for Macquarie that would complement their adoption of a new collaborative style: Activity-Based Working (ABW), a flexible work platform developed by Dutch consultant Veldhoen & Co. Our first idea was to open up and animate the ten-story atrium with 26 ‘meeting pods’, as a kind of celebration of collaboration, allowing clear lines of sight through the financial business.
Numerous work zones surround the atrium, designed to house 100 employees each in adaptable neighborhoods. An arterial staircase links the zones forming a ‘Meeting Tree’, emblematic of the interconnectedness of Macquarie’s client relationships. The Main Street on Level 1 offers communal spaces that are highly conducive to corporate and philanthropic events and includes a café and dining areas. Within the office floors ‘Plazas’ were modeled after collaboration typologies—the Dining Room, Garden, Tree House, Playroom, and Coffee House, where cross-pollination among business groups is encouraged through spontaneous encounters.
One Shelley Street has been designed to the highest levels of green star or LEED efficiency, using revolutionary technologies like harbor water cooling, chilled beams and zone controlled lighting. Overall energy consumption has been reduced by 50%. The interior staircase, linking the various neighborhoods, has reduced the use of the elevators by 50%. There has been a 78% reduction in paper storage needs and a 53% reduction in printing paper. Mail is scanned and distributed electronically, decreasing the need for storage. Employees have lockers in which to store personal addenda, and are deterred from creating paper waste, there’s not a trash can in sight. The business benefit of ABW is the elimination of ‘churn’—the cost of moving groups and redefining spaces. Investing now meant savings in the future and Macquarie is providing an unmatched quality of life for its employees—benefiting clients, investors, shareholders and the environment.
By October 2009 nearly all of the 3,000 employees had moved into the new building. Although activity-based work environments are not yet the norm, the acceptance level among Macquarie employees has soared beyond initial anticipation. Nearly 55% change their workspaces each day, and 77% are in favor of the freedom to do so. There has been an abandonment of stale business practices that are traditionally incubators of complacency. One Shelley Street is positioned to be a trailblazer for the new global sustainable office building.