Swinburne University of Technology

Having designed and delivered the building over a decade ago, we were again engaged to refurbish 2 levels of office space within The George Building on Swinburne University of Technology’s Hawthorn campus. Our scope included the IT department on level 6, and departments including finance, strategic planning and data analytics, facility services, sustainability and procurement on Level 7, a total of X sqm. 

With a focus on adaptive reuse, we maintained existing meeting rooms, kitchenettes and amenities, prioritising upgrade of the agile open plan spaces that would be effective in a post-COVID environment. We were engaged in February of 2022 and worked efficiently to expedite the program, allowing the builder to be onsite by October of the same year. 

We developed the concept of creating ‘neighbourhoods’ for each department and communicated how the more diverse range of work spaces we planned to introduce would compliment their work routines, rather than disrupt them. 

With COVID-19 acting as a catalyst for increased remote collaboration, we designed inventive workspace solutions which doubled the number of informal and quiet spaces, future proofing the fitout. Applying the approach of creating ‘neighbourhoods’, we recreated the characteristics of invigorating spaces such as cafes, in an office context. Diversifying a repetitive floor plan, these new spaces manifested in a variety of formats including semi-private booths with arched doorways, high-back lounges and single-person nooks — enticing remote workers back into the office. We successfully adaptively reused existing fixtures and furnishings, refreshing the space and aiding wayfinding through the use of colour.

This project exemplifies the ability of our team to adapt to the evolving requirements of a project while maximising the potential of a limited budget. Although unplanned, our respectful stakeholder management saw us build relationships with staff and deliver fit-for-purpose spaces that they now enjoy every day. Embraced by our client and staff alike, our creative solution not only met specific operational needs of distinct departments, but also delivered choice and contemporary ways of working within a warm and welcoming setting.