Text description provided by the architects. The project team, working for the CSL Steering Committee – a select group of five senior executives representing the CSL Global Corporate Headquarters project – was headed by internal CSL Engineering Group project managers with Jacobs as lead consultant and Irwin Consult providing the majority of disciplines. The team worked closely with the steering committee to deliver a comprehensive upgrade and expansion of the existing early 1960’s modernist administration building designed by BatesSmart & McCutcheon.
The Steering Committee’s brief was to provide a best-practice flexible workplace to increase productivity and collaboration whilst honouring CSL’s history and promoting the future of the company. The response demanded a building that was non-ostentatious, but reflected the innovation and high-technology of the manufacturing process – from research and development though to production.
The existing building, acting as the main site entrance and frontage to Poplar Road in Parkville was proving inadequate to enable the company to properly welcome significant stakeholders and investors for the global company from its humble beginnings as the Commonwealth Serum Laboratories in 1916.
Significant security, access, people and vehicular flow issues were resolved at a masterplanning level, whilst the brief required additional programme to enable staff and executives to improve collaboration. With a number of shared and dedicated meeting spaces required, along with requirements for adequate amenities and shared facilities the design response was to connect three additional double or triple storey Pods symmetrically around the building. The Pods act as shading devices, offer branding, vertical circulation and provide organisational and hierarchical structure via strong internal linkages between each pod.
The pods are layered with colour and texture to create a unique and uplifting quality of light that filters though into the Pods internal spaces and continues into the large open office and workstation zones of the existing floor plate. The coloured pattern applied to the glazing of the north Pods reference the colours of the CSL brand and fundamental pillars of CSL blood products - plasma, and an abstracted immunoglobulin molecule. To the south, the patterns applied to the southern Pods draw from the context of site and history. The green tones of Royal Park as seen from the Pods and glazed link are used to form an abstracted smallpox virus, acknowledging CSL’s historical foundation as the nation’s vaccine provider. These patterns come to life via the use of the moiré effect - created with a dual layer of aligned pattern - produced when moving past the screens.
Environmentally, the project utilises the strengths of the existing building’s solar orientation, shading devices and solid east and west walls providing thermal mass. The placement of the pods and dual layered façade permits high levels of natural light throughout the existing narrow floor plate whilst shielding the glazed zones from direct heat load. The refurbishment of the existing building permitted the building to be adequately sealed. High levels of new insulation enabled active chilled beams to be selected as the main heating and cooling method – being delivered by new high efficiency plant.