On this weekend (30 – 31 July), Open House Melbourne was held around City and I decided to visit one of buildings; Medibank Place in Dockland. This building was designed by Hassell and built in 2014, promoting office workers to have healthy lifestyle through physical activities and the freedom to choose working spaces. This office space was one of buildings I really wanted to visit and to have a look at, so I thought Open House Melbourne was a wonderful opportunity to realise my dream.
When I arrived at the office a few minutes after 10am, there was already a long line of people waiting for their turn to go inside. After a while, I could enter into the office, which was just so beautiful.
The natural, organic texture and patterns of numerous timbers on the high ceiling and curved walls in combination with horizontal indirect lighting welcomed visitors with a sense of warmth. The huge void located at the centre of the building brought natural light into the building, leading people to look up. The pastel colours applied to each floor’s ceiling were seen from the ground level, and their sensitivity was harmonised with the repetitive, sinuous lines outlining the edge of walls / solid banisters.
The wide variation of the dimensions, furnitures and working styles provided in each space seemed limitless. There were areas for different purposes, such as for private work, team / group projects, meetings, for making phone calls, and for relaxing. Tables are not aligned or facing one direction like common office space; all desks are open to everyone, and some meeting spaces cannot be even booked. The colour schemes and lighting stylised in each section on floors were constructing specific atmosphere, allowing workers to select where to work in relation to the suitable mood for it.
I was also amazed by details of the design; Ducted heatings were located underneath floors, which is more energy efficient since the warm air goes up. It also open up the space on the ceiling where usually air conditioning system locates, creating the space that does not resemble the stereotypical ideology of “office” at all.
The eating habit seemed to be one of the key aspects encouraged through the architectural design; there was a herb garden people could come and take some for their lunches, and a large number of island kitchens, refrigerators and boxes of fruits on floors. Workers seemed to have freedom and the ability to make own decisions about how they live in the office, and I thought it may have given a positive influence on their productivity as they are encouraged to be active and engaging. The way building changed people’s time at the office was significant.
The visit did not disappoint my expectation… I loved the building and the lifestyle promoted through building!