02.03.2015

Highway Property wins Excellence in Glass

Echuca-based accounting and auditing firm adds a touch of luxury through a well-designed project

Brandrick Architects won two awards in the BDAV’s Building Design Awards 2014 for their Highway Property commercial building: Non-Residential Design – New Project and Excellence in Use of Glass.

Two of three partnered clients were also partners in an established Echuca accounting and auditing firm who wished to expand their company. The new office, to be occupied by the accounting firm, needed to be luxurious and open. A striking façade needed to continue into a reception and waiting area with amenities and meeting rooms. A library, directors’ offices, a board-room, staff kitchenette and staff workspaces were essential, and on-site staff car parking was preferred.

Located on the banks of the mighty Murray, Echuca enjoys a rich paddle-steamer and river-port history. Today, south-bound travelers crossing the bridge from NSW are greeted by a testament to high quality commercial building design. This gateway site overlooks the only bridge across the Murray River into town. The bridge approach includes a major intersection between the historic Echuca port, central business district and a residential area.

After fulfilling and surpassing the client’s requirements, the office has become a unique landmark within its context, addressing the corner site with striking yet elegant command. The contrast and simplicity of the façade, with its concrete and blue glazing, filters abundant light and clarity onto the internal space creating an opulent, polished finish. This transparency extends throughout the design; minimal use of solid walls and floors create a discrete focus on the opaque surfaces remaining. Subtle use of timber softens the hard surfaces and angular geometry within, resulting in a balanced product exceeding expectations.

This landmark office building contrasts stunning blue glazed panels with detailed concrete. The blue glass feature-panels appear to float around the façade. Abundant blue filtered light floods the internal space creating an opulent, airy and polished interior. This transparency extends throughout the interior design; minimal use of solid walls and floors creates a discrete focus on the opaque surfaces remaining. Subtle use of timber throughout softens the angular geometry of internal spaces, resulting in a well-balanced professional commercial space fit for any Fortune 500 company.

An open-plan employee office, adorned with a living green wall, features stunning views of nearby churches and chapels.

The building captures the attention of passersby as well as maximising the picturesque views on offer across the river to the State Forest and to the Echuca township, nearby churches and other historic buildings.

Wrapped in a blue curtain, this modern two-storey office block is an outstanding example of how the innovative use of glass can create a landmark building. The cloak of more than 300 glass panels floats above the pedestrian footpath creating a remarkably light and dazzling veneer. The highly reflective panels bounce the surrounding environment and sky back to the casual passerby, providing an ever-changing façade.

On the inside, the blue screen floods the building with cool filtered light, a welcome relief from the harsh summer sun. Large glassed internal walls and balustrading provide unvetted views through the building and beyond. The external environment is bought inside to enlarge the internal spaces. A rounded-rectangular opening within the façade corresponds with the internal void to capture the clear outlook from the first floor across a nearby intersection to the Murray River and Banyule Park State Forest.

This building is truly brought alive with movement and colour, both inside and out, by the remarkable use of glass.

The clients “were blown away by the initial design and fitout concepts and are rapt with the final result”, said Gerard Brandrick from Bradrick Architects.

Acknowledgements

Designer:  Brandrick Architects
Builder:  Davey & Williams Civil Commercial Constructions P/L
Photographer: Rhys Leslie Photography and Daniel Lamb Photography

Precast concrete panels allow the weight of the blue glazed curtain wall to be suspended with steel framing
Precast concrete panels allow the weight of the blue glazed curtain wall to be suspended with steel framing - Images: Rhys Leslie Photography and Daniel Lamb Photography