In the most basic terms, there is a very clear-cut definition as to what constitutes a modern skyscraper; the Oxford dictionary describes it simply as a ‘tall building of many stories.’
Industry members know, however, that there is more to what are perhaps this industry’s most iconic structures than simply height. There is an aesthetic that comes with the modern skyscraper ideal, a visual and even an interior format that is synonymous with the modern skyscraper.
However – here in Australia, that aesthetic, that function and that format are all being redefined.
One iconic building that is pushing forth the evolution of the skyscraper is Sydney’s 8 Chifley and the greater Square development. Designed by renowned and internationally-acclaimed architect Richard Rogers, the commercial office building is leading a new wave of skyscraper buildings that focus as much on environmental sustainability as they do the ever-important – and oft-forgotten – socially sustainable components.
The rise of the collaborative workplace is a prevalent fact here in Australia, and has been implemented in a major way throughout development, say project developers the Mirvac Group.
“There is a worldwide trend towards activity-based workplace,” says managing director Nick Collishaw. “We discussed with Lord Rogers that we want to see a high level of connectivity across several floors.”
From this idea of connectivity sprang the concept of workplace ‘villages’, which now serve as the foundation for this building’s interior layout and format. Eight workplace villages, some stretching over two or even three storeys, allow for interaction between colleagues and promote both formal and informal meetings and engagement between workers and management.
“The concept has not been used in the southern hemisphere. In fact, the only other building designed with a similar concept has just been completed in London,” says Collishaw. “We recognise the trend for large corporates to get greater interaction of their staff over many floors.”
In terms of the building’s environmental sustainability, it has been awarded a 6 Star Green Star – Office Design v2 rating by the Green Building Council of Australia due to clever inclusions of a blackwater recycling plant, a chilled beam mechanical system, external façade shading to lower the building’s solar gain and heat load, low VOC materials, photovoltaics, and a tri-generation system which will be used for the building’s base power, including heating and cooling.
This mix of social and environmental elements is becoming a key point in modern design for the skyscraper buildings. It is allowing these buildings to evolve into spaces that offer more than a pleasing aesthetic.