Builder: John Lyng Commercial Group
Structural Engineer: Lambert & Rehbein
Services Engineer: Aurecon
Text description provided by the architects. Baldasso Cortese were recently commissioned to design the new Police Complex in Somerville. The brief called for a new facility to accommodate approximately 150 staff, 83 relocated from existing police stations and 67 new staff to meet the operational needs of Victoria Police, the growing local community and greater regional area.
Located at a key road intersection in the semi-rural landscape and bounded by natural flora and residential homes, the conceptual design for Somerville Police Station gives consideration to context and local character whilst providing Victoria Police an established civic presence.
Following the natural contour of the land, the building is ground hugging and sits within the site in a manner that conserves pre-existing native vegetation.
The architectural form is divided into a ground floor precast concrete plinth and an upper level Corten steel façade. Grounding the building on the site, the precast concrete base provides a solid sanctuary for those in need of assistance and protection.
The upper level Corten cladding is folded to represent the five points of the star that are found on the Victoria Police badge. The points of the star metaphorically represent Victoria Police reaching out into the community and the core values of integrity, leadership, flexibility, respect, support and professionalism. While enhancing the architectural form, the use of Corten steel, which is a rusted metal cladding, was a response to regional flora, alluding to the rusty hue of pine needles and cones of the conifer trees that grow adjacent to the site.
Internally, this connection with the landscape is continued through the use of spotted gum timber panels. These warm and textural timber elements, accentuated by the neutral materials palette, span both levels and terminates at wide glazed windows that provide tree top views. This glazing also affords a diffused light that streams down on the office spaces, alluding to the effect of light filtering through a tree canopy.