The 50 Martin Place off-site program, “Commercial Development in a Historic Civic Space,” kindly organized by Hassell, began in a meeting room located in a two-story glass dome atop the host building. Attendees learned that the building was added during a massive renovation effort that completed in 2014, along with a host of other upgrades. The program kicked off with a presentation from Mark Tait, Group Executive & Head of Commercial Development, Investa Property, who gave an owner/developer perspective on the renovation of the historic bank building. Tait explained many of the challenges for obtaining authority approvals on such a project, detailed the lessons learned from the international design competition process, and discussed the negotiations that were required to obtain air rights to cantilever the building over a heritage-listed church.

Following Tait, Paul Van Ratingen, Director, Johnson Pilton Walker (JPW), discussed the renovation effort from the perspective of the design team. He explained that despite the 1928 building’s original function as a bank, its underlying characteristics made it well suited to a contemporary workplace – it had 20,000 square meters of large rear-core floorplates, a regular column grid, and central atrium. The design team’s response, Van Ratingen explained, was to reinstate the original building’s essential “bones,” then provide technically sophisticated architectural solutions that would remain invisible and let the historic form speak for itself.

Finally, Thanh Quach, Development Manager, Grocon, progressed the program from the perspective of the construction company. Quach conveyed the complexity of delivering major new developments in the heart of the city, particularly 5 Martin Place, which won a number of industry accolades, including PCA Development of the Year for 2017. The presentation offered insights into the way a company with both design and construction responsibilities views a development, and how the construction methodology required to deliver the project has an impact on the design brief.

After the presentations, delegates were escorted around the project, beginning with a tour of the two-story glass dome that and doubles as a large central atrium, through which light penetrates the entire building. Guests observed the building’s new circular glass elevators traveling through the building without a standard enclosed shaft, but rather an open-air hoistway, which unobtrusively pierces through the ornate ceiling of the original banking hall at ground level. The tour then proceeded to the rooftop garden outside the glass dome, where unique vantage points were possible, given the building’s relatively low elevation in the CBD at 12 stories. Back inside the building, delegates appreciated the spaciousness of its central atrium and the abundance of light that it allowed into the adjacent office spaces. Once at the ground floor, the bank level was noted for retaining its design heritage down to the last detail, contrasting with the contemporary treatment of the floors above. Here, delegates offered words of thanks to the gracious program hosts.

Venue: 50 Martin Place
Capacity: 20 Delegates

Program Organized by:

Wednesday 1 November Schedule:

Morning Program
8:30 am Arrival & Coffee
8:55 am Welcome
9:00 am Presentation 1
9:20 am Presentation 2
9:40 am Presentation 3
10:00 am Q&A
10:15 am Coffee Break
10:45 am Tour of 50 Martin Place
12:00 pm Delegates depart

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