Wood Wool panelling goes up down under

Himmel Interior Systems supplied wood wool panelling for a stunning project helping to create the future while reflecting on the past at a famous maritime port location.

Superior acoustics in the workplace with Troldtekt acoustic ceilings
Photo: Sam Noonan

Walter Brooke Architects have recently completed the integrated fit-out of a new €24 million 6-storey office building at Port Adelaide. Located north-west of the South Australian capital the port has a rich history as an industrial harbour and forms part of the State Government’s efforts to transform the area into a vibrant and contemporary urban district. The new Port Adelaide offices are on the waterfront and next to the iconic Birkenhead Bridge. It is expected that this development will fast become a catalyst for dramatic regeneration in the area.

While contemporary aesthetics were important, it was not the only consideration for this modern government building because in their design the architects have paid tribute to the area’s historical character and industrial past. They have designed a space which encourages collaboration and flexibility. It enables a mobile way of working in a stimulating workplace that reflects the raw and industrial local character. It uses brick cladding, exposed concrete and textured glass. In addition, metal sheet and rope directly reference the Port’s maritime history while exposed services within the space create a more warehouse feel. A combination of recycled and raw timbers provides warmth while the lighting and soft furnishings were selected to create a more domestic touch.

Dominant in the ceiling are Troldtekt’s wood wool ceiling panels which are installed in black, white and natural finishes. Supplied by Himmel Interior Systems, these create stunning ceiling features while combining quiet open plan areas with discreet private offices. Importantly, they add a rustic warmth to complement the Port’s historical use of timber. Exposing the services to increase the ceiling height allows the height to be celebrated using innovative materials to assist with acoustic treatment. All this creates a neutral palette with interest created by industrial textures which create a unique working environment that does not interfere with dramatic water views of the Port.

The building is currently under construction and is being delivered through a Design and Construct procurement with Walter Brooke working with the contractor Hansen Yuncken. The project was initially procured by the South Australian Government (DPTI) as an open expression of interest and competition for developers to deliver an office building for hundreds of workers. Walter Brooke collaborated with developer epc.Pacific when their design concept was successful from among about twenty other proposals. It includes the base building and the integrated fit-out of three floors, each comprising 1,890 sqm of commercial office space. The fit-out has been designed for so-called Activity Based Working (ABW) for the 500 Government workers across two separate Government agencies who will relocate into the building from various places in the Adelaide area.

One agency will occupy two floors, with the other working across another. Both will share a common design theme based around a contextual and cultural association with the district of Port Adelaide. However, the approach to the agencies’ respective workplace strategies will be along different methodologies to cater to the distinct and specialised agency requirements.

One agency will embrace a true activity-based working (ABW) environment, while the other agency will follow a more traditional, team-focused, team-zone model with the intention to become an ABW in the future as work practices change and evolve. As the project is developer-driven with the Government agencies as long-term tenants, Walter Brooke has used its skills to ensure that the fit-outs meet design and quality expectations of the tenants within the developer’s specific budget parameters. The architects have also been proactive in ensuring the exploration of local procurement aligned with the South Australia Government Industry Participation Policy.