171 Collins Street
PROJECTS  /  171 Collins Street

171 Collins Street

Commercial Building
Bates Smart
Peter Clarke

171 Collins Street integrates a new generation of workplace environment linking Collins Street’s luxury and sophistication with the intimacy and vibrant atmosphere of Flinders Lane.Completed in May 2013 the Bates Smart designed 171 Collins Street development offers a positive contribution to Melbourne’s bold architectural landscape

The development consists of 29,800sqm of premium office space, spread over 17 large campus-style floor-plates, and 1,700sqm of boutique office space in the restored heritage building on Collins Street.The lower levels incorporate a business centre and over 1,500sqm of high-end retail space.The tower’s driving design concept was that it appears jewel-like.This was in homage to the high-end jewellery retailers who used to operate in Collins Street’s Paris end during the 19th century

The glass facade has an angular sharpness and pristine finish easily associated with quality and refinement. It readily lends the building its own identity but also reflects its surrounds.The facade echoes the forms found in the neighbouring St Paul’s Cathedral spires as well as the fractal geometry of Federation Square.It also changes with the weather and the way the facade catches the light determines its predominant hue at any given time on any particular day.

This element of grandeur has been carried into the nine-storey atrium, which features imported Travertine and hundreds of pieces of glass inclined and declined at different angles.The atrium’s height contributes to the interior’s grand welcoming gesture and befits the calibre of currently confirmed tenants.BHP Billiton has moved its new global headquarters to 171 Collins Street and the first Australian retail store for Dolce & Gabbana is soon to open.

There were actually five different parcels of land that were needed to amalgamate and so there were five different buildings that needed to be demolished to make way for the new 171 Collins Street precinct.The 3000sqm site sits between Collins Street and Flinders Lane in close proximity to Swanston Street. A large part of the project’s undoubted charm is the rich character it imparts the so-called Paris end of Collins Street.Interestingly, a planning requirement from Heritage Victoria obliged the developers to maintain the Mayfair Cinema’s Collins Street facade.

One of the early challenges was how to incorporate a 1913 heritage facade into a very contemporary way of thinking about office buildings and this was something that Bates Smart were asked to address.Bates Smart was diligent in trying not to ignore the history of the site.Bates worked with the positive aspects of the surrounding fabric. The outcome produced an elegant response that seamlessly melds the old with the new.

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