Santos Place
SUMMARY STATEMENT Santos Place is a 41 storey office project in the Brisbane CBD which has created a new covered pedestrian laneway and utilises it as its preferred address. The ground level has a conspicuously people friendly setting signalling a less corporate way of developing the city. Bicycle parking, boulder walls for sitting, and dangling lanterns suggest an alternative gentleness might accompany big commercial buildings rather than the singular splendour of massive glass and gleaming stainlessness. Perhaps making an ‘eco’ building, (this case a 6 star ‘green star’ performer) is as much about incorporating local timber craft and stone as it is about deploying sophisticated engineering systems. In this case, above its almost domesticated ground floor, all the expected features of premium office space are available; large side loaded floor plates, monitored comfort conditions and pure views over the river to the south. Double glazing to its perimeter is shielded by purpose perforated shadowing screens on its west and east flanks. Gold anodizing and the local heritage colour palette gives the facade a characteristic glow achievable in Brisbane’s intense light, a homage to the exuberant Australian north rather than the more subdued south. The scheme has no bold stroke, various moves accumulate. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK With its vivid light and raffish character, a plush commercial building in Brisbane might be effusive, tactile and colourful (rather than have propriety, sheerness and aspirations). A very efficient, savvy diagram can yield savings to spend on a few critical areas. A big building often benefits people by offering satisfaction at a number of scales and can afford to have small fragments that are quite unlike themselves. In this way the project is a miniature of the city itself. The Brisvegas context is a pleasantly clashing hybrid of new and not so new, large and small, rough and tough, quaint and quirky. PUBLIC AND CULTURAL BENEFITS Dedicated 24 hour pedestrian laneway is a gift to the city linking its new pedestrian bridge with the street network. The main street frontage is ‘pulled back’ to re-establish a shielded footpath which a freeway ramp had displaced. The city has a colourful, light reactive tower in one of its significant skyscapes. Its visual characteristics vary widely during differing times of day and season. RELATIONSHIP OF BUILT FORM TO CONTEXT Market/Environmental/Cost/Views combination yielded glazed southern facade and tactile protective layers to east and west. Top of building fashioned with a volume rather than a shape...implies a room at the top which in fact is how it’s used, (also identifies with court volume below). Scheme offers a near and far reading, with amalgamated gold glow from afar and tactile richly pixelated local heritage colour scheme from below and near. PROGRAM RESOLUTION Although the site carried the latent development potential of views it was at risk of being landlocked by a freeway ramp across its street frontage and only a ribbon of easement connecting through the block to another street. By positively restructuring these conditions rather than opting for amelioration, a functional and experiential cross block link forms a genuine addition to the CBD network. Architects refined equation for lift capacity vs net leasable area vs optimum outlook to maximise upper high rental floors with minimal lift core loss. Large floor plates in an ‘eco’ rated building were a market requirement to attract tenants and ensure suitability for ultimate sale of the building. Architects offered key time/cost tactics; minimal basement, enclosure system separated from final façade, façade design allowed total prefabrication off site and installation from floor above, well deployed but conventional systems were used so that risk and availability of competing contractors ensured value. Façade design allowed total prefabrication off site and installation from floor above, i.e. minimal and flexible timing for crane operations. Façade design therefore accelerated construction time which in turn generated enabling savings. A layer of thin studio style office space masks podium parking to street. Parking, (a legal requirement) above ground enabled savings in construction time and excavation costs to be diverted into experiential aspects of the project. The ground level intermixes the corporate with the commonplace, the interior with the exterior and the generous with the intimate. Restaurant and cafe tenancies have their territories extended by bays off circulation routes that are formed by plinths, rock outcrops and partial vertically paled timber fences. MANIFESTATION IN DETAILS Colours from the local heritage scheme (which is a popular palette for home renovation and has a public familiarity although rarely used in these combinations or at this scale) are used in situations where they can react potently to light. The southern unfiltered facade has coloured (including some metallic gold) spandrels that become highlighted late in summer days. The coloured gussets which carry the gold anodised sunscreens temper the light which is reflected off the building spandrels back into the screens enriching the depth of the ‘golden’ character when observed both externally and internally. The colour scheme is also deployed in the light shafts at the lobby level. The building’s most widely observed elevation reads as a tall rectangle with an indent at the top. This simple shape has been developed as a motif that reoccurs in various forms and scales to endorse the building’s particularity in contrast to it being a setting for product. In this way the lift interiors, base building carpet and sunscreen perforations are suffused and occasionally overlap. Ground level doors, tables and light shrouds are likewise purpose built. In contrast to the surrounding upscaled commercial foyers and even to the building above various almost domestic elements are collected at the ground. A perimeter bulkhead with a 2200mm high soffit is lined with polished Queensland hardwood. The front door sits below a bay window which tips light over the entrance. Generous tables are at working rather than occasional table height level. Stone formations, hung shrouds and short bollards pool light on Queensland marble to indicate routes and thresholds.


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Building Activity

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