When approached to participate in this project, the build was already in a state of partial completion. This skeletal structure over six floors would eventually serve as a corporate HQ for a design savvy commercial building company. Being on an active South Melbourne corner, the ground floor was flagged to accommodate a street café, the floors above to serve as office accommodation.
The fitout for both café and office, along with the treatment of the buildings ultimate skin, echoes the buildings sustainable credibility.
For this, and given the sites north-eastern exposure, external recycled timber battening was introduced which became the dominant cladding feature, playing off the raw expressed concrete skeleton already in place.
In a practical sense, this became the passive solution to sun control for the building.
The spotted gum battening, horizontally configured, includes at street café level, a sequence of wide slot screens at the front and at bench-height level, that can be raised and lowered according to the needs of the seasons. These facilitate direct interaction with the activities of the street.
The tactile quality and ‘woodiness’ of the treatment, provides a more relaxed interpretation of this type of commercial building. It gives a nod to the precincts industrial origins of factories and warehouses.