A high benchmark for innovation
Westpac's 2017 award-winning Barangaroo workplace in Sydney set the benchmark for Westpac workspaces. 275 Kent Street, previously their flagship global corporate head office, required a revitalised approach for a building upgrade initiated by the landlord.
To realise this vision, Westpac reunited the project team responsible for delivering Barangaroo, which included APP as their delivery partner and project lead.
APP managed Westpac's interests in finalising the Agreement for Lease with joint building owners Mirvac and Blackstone. Our focus also centred on the installation of a lower ground food court, end of trip facilities, lobby upgrade and the urban park development.
Developing innovation at all stages
Westpac's vision was to create a 'nimble and agile workspace that reinforces our position as one of the world's greatest service companies'. Achieving this vision presented new opportunities in design, engineering, technology, operations, sustainability, accessibility and workplace experiences.
APP specialists led and managed the team throughout the design process, ensuring the concept addressed Westpac's aspirations. APP also organised multiple value management workshops to assure design and construction met budget and program.
The 58,000m2 fit-out required several strategies to deliver Westpac's brief. These included:
- Flexible design to enable adaptive practices:
- a mix of collaboration and meeting spaces (e.g. huddles, co-labs, studios and meeting rooms on each floor)
- a hub-and-spoke approach - a launchpad hub surrounded by co-labs as spokes to promote innovation
- library areas on each floor provide ergonomic quiet zones to the occupants
- Reducing kitchen and tea points in favour of one large kitchen/breakout space on every floor, providing communal areas for occupants and encouraging increased sharing and socialising across teams
- Spaces that promote inclusivity and diversity:
- two dedicated Reflection faith rooms for prayer, meditation or quiet contemplation
- a parents’ room for parents returning to work and visitors
- a workplace concierge service to provide employees with access to services such as dry cleaning.
- Spaces to promote wellness, including a dedicated Wellness Centre with multipurpose spaces for yoga, pilates and physiotherapy sessions.
- Emphasis on connectivity through interconnecting stairs, a three-floor strategy, creation of 'bump zones' and common areas where people can interact
- A high rise outdoor terrace that provides an alternative area to work, meet and socialise in a green outdoor environment
Delivering economic, environmental and social benefits
The overarching challenge was delivering a sophisticated fit-out in a live environment. APP strategically planned a staged delivery over two and a half years, with six stages of 23 separable portions. The design provided for 5,000 agile work points.
The project incorporated multiple initiatives for sustainability, accessibility, technology and adaptability, including:
- Indigenous artworks commissioned to provide economic and development benefits to communities and artists
- Internal café focused on reducing packaging
- A project to rehouse, recycle and reuse over 10,000 furniture, kitchen and office items by donating to charities and public schools
- Replacement of lighting to LED to achieve 15% greater efficiency
- Paper reduction initiatives
- Clear and legible signage with simple and intuitive directional symbols and tactile text
- Kitchens designed for people with accessibility requirements including cut-outs in joinery for wheelchair users and tactile signage for people with sight impairments and with consideration for the lower and higher percentile of the population, including amenities available at various heights
- Wi-fi throughout the building to allow for flexible working with no connectivity disruption
- A mobile phone app featuring way-finding technology, colleague contact details, room bookings and other workplace functions
- AV facilities in every meeting room and VC in multiple meeting rooms on each working floor
- Flexible spaces for all business units to encourage sharing of spaces throughout the building by all employees
Westpac's agile working model reflects their belief that work is not a place that you go; it's something that you do and achieve. The framework aims to empower staff to achieve great things for employees, guests, customers, communities and shareholders. In adopting a holistic, human-centred approach, Westpac's 275 Kent Street community enjoys a contemporary workplace that promotes humanity, connectedness, inclusivity and community.
The fitout is on track to achieve a 5-Star Green Certification within an existing building and the challenges and constraints that this presents.
Westpac 275 Kent Street is a finalist in the 2020 PCA Innovation and Excellence Awards, recognising outstanding achievement for Best Workplace Project.