July 5, 2013

A few days ago, the Tobias Partners team was invited to tour the sparkling new office tower at 1 Bligh Street. As Sydney’s newest skyscraper, the 27 storey building designed by German group Ingenhoven in collaboration with Australian collective Architectus is remarkable on many fronts. We love its elegant ovoidal form, sliced on a stepped ellipse at the street entrance – creating a dramatic setting for James Angus’ monolithic public sculpture ‘Day In, Day Out’. The double skin floor-to-ceiling glass façade creates a sense of transparency and lightness – such a pleasing contrast to the prevailing opacity of most city buildings. Then there’s the flowing, organic interior form of the open-air full-height atrium. Top Notch. But most of all, this building is remarkable in that it is the first to be awarded 6 Star Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of Australia.

As the GBCA points out, buildings consume 32% of the word’s resources and produce 40% of waste and air emissions. Being awarded the highest star rating, then, is no easy feat. 1 Bligh Street manages it with apparent ease. The full-height atrium looks incredibly sleek, but more importantly it allows for natural core ventilation and air flow, providing maximum comfort with minimal electricity use. The double skin façade is certainly aesthetic, but it also encases a computer-controlled system of sun shade blades that automatically follow the orientation of the sun, helping adjust temperature and natural light flow into all floors. Perhaps less sexy, but no less important, is the basement sewage recycling plant that enables 90% of the buildings water wastage to be reused in flushing and irrigation systems. Elegant, eye-catching, environmentally savvy – in so many ways, 1 Bligh Street is a case study of the architecture of tomorrow, today.

Author: Nick tobias