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stvalentine on 2011-01-13In troubled economic times, there is only one high rise office tower being built in Brisbane. So enamoured was the client, GPT, with the design by Cox Rayner Architects that he decided to proceed on the basis that the building’s aesthetic, environmental and workplace benefits would lure prospective tenants.
The tower’s structure is organic in that the columns twist and turn up its 45 storey height, emerging through the roof to form a tree-like canopy. The resulting filigree of structure reflects the city’s two iconic Fig Trees in the building’s forecourt, but the rationale for the concept was initially pragmatic. This was because the tower is being built over a wide existing loading dock such that there were few points on the ground where columns could land. Cox Rayner Architects with their engineers ARUP devised a structural system where loads could be gradually transferred diagonally down to the land predominantly on one side of the site, avoiding the dock.
The concept evolved with several attributes. The columns in the ‘web’ are abnormally thin at 600 – 400 wide, maximising views to the river. Less concrete is required than in conventional typologies entailing reduced embodied energy in construction. Overall the tower is currently measured to be above 6 star rating under the Green Building Council of Australia’s Green Star Design Rating System.
The tower has a corner services core that also maximises the availability of views to the office areas, with the structural frame wrapping around the remaining volume inside a glass skin with operable blinds responding to solar orientations.
The ground plane is designed as a public thoroughfare space linking the city to its main ferry terminal, such that the foyers are at the first level above. This design enriches the sense of lightness and space for which the building will become renowned