The 600 Bourke Street (Bourke Place) Lobby refurbishment for AMP Capital was designed by 3XN architects with NH Architecture. The project brief was to turn a tired, voluminous lobby, that lacked meaningful tenant engagement into a contemporary, active main arrival lobby. As well as reconnecting with the internal street network and the refurbished interior, with the surrounding urban grid of the Melbourne CBD.
Repositioning the building for a new generation of corporate tenants, while simultaneously helping shape behaviour through architecture. The work is grounded in ongoing research into how buildings reflect and influence human behaviour and the environment. Every detail has been considered to deliver greater amenity, timelessness and a sense of community.
Originally designed in the 1980s, with a complex network of separate lobbies, split levels and inward-looking spaces, the new interior reveals a single volume with clear pedestrian connections and direct sightlines to the external environment. This turns a once inactive edge condition, into a dynamic and active scene of urban frontage.
A number of key design strategies were employed to support the singular and connected nature of the main volume, whilst acknowledging the desire to create a human scale in a large volume. This creates a comfortable and contemporary working environment, in which a multitude of usable spaces can flow directly off the main lobby. It is centred around the re-clad core, reducing the perceptual scale of the original ten-metre high volume.
A continuous horizontal datum line was established between all vertical surfaces and through the reduced number of materials, while also dropping feature lights. This creates an illuminated ceiling while helping to ‘nestle’ the informal working and conversation areas. A wide range of working spaces and furniture arrangements were configured within the space below in a more intimate environment. Opportunities to integrate hospitality were also designed, to support socialising and knowledge sharing.
As a raised podium, the opportunity to sit up alongside the tree canopy along King and Bourke Street was embraced and enhanced with the design of two large landscaped terraces. This extended the greenery of the street onto the external work areas, whilst extending the workplace from the typical, corporate lobby environment, while acting as a visual terminus from the existing cruciform, lift lobby outline.
In combination with the suspension lights, the central core, which is clad in carved facetted marble panels, captures light from various angles. This not only accentuates the dynamic stone configuration as a means of not only lowering the scale of the tall, 10m high space, but also creating a focal point that is visible from the surrounding streets. This attracts attention from outside and establishing a central feature within the lobby.
The new north-south axis combines both a new laneway link with a lowered intimately scaled ceiling and extensive, stepped-seating banquets with retail and F&B opportunities. This once emptied and lifeless lobby connection becomes an active thoroughfare and extension of the Melbourne lane way typology, whilst seamlessly negotiating a significant change in height between Bourke Street and Little Bourke.