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A look at how COVID-19 is changing design

09 Jun 2020

A look at how COVID-19 is changing design Image

By Jack Hayes

With life after a once-in-a-generation pandemic still uncertain, Melbourne Square developer OSK Property has made the first steps to what work in a post COVID-19 era can look like.

Connectivity with the outdoors, limited shared spaces and a greater “technological backbone” to allow for remote working are just some of the new hallmarks its recently released 38,000 sqm 29-level office tower.

In a move that will set a likely precedent for future development in Southbank, Melbourne Square Commercial will look to reduce contact in close quarters such as lifts, and limit crossover between different businesses in communal facilities.

COX Architecture director Paul Curry said its design principles were representative of how offices would likely change in the post COVID-19 era.

“COVID-19 has accelerated workplace trends towards remote working and it has raised the question as to what the office of the future will look like. Long-term outcomes will likely lead to a greater need from workers to enjoy fresh air and light, with access to open space and a connection back to nature,” Mr Curry said.

“Layouts will be more flexible than ever and common areas and spaces more humanising in their materials and textures. Buildings will need to offer more than just a place to work – people will work to make a life, not just a living.”

“People are going to be a lot more mindful of being in confined spaces with others. So, it has come down to how office towers adapt to that across all aspects of the building.”

Mr Curry said the new tower’s north-facing orientation and design, which maximised its relationship to Melbourne Square’s one-acre park, would provide a unique connection to the outdoors for workers.

With the recent approval of Beulah International’s plans to build Australia’s tallest building in Southbank, another COX Architecture project, Mr Curry said there was more to design than adding to the suburb’s skyline.

“Something we get really excited with is public life and our ability to change cities. When we are starting each of our projects, we have to look at the context of the suburb and how we can use them to improve the fabric in which we are working in; Southbank is no different,” Mr Curry said.

“Very early on with Melbourne Square we took into account all sorts of things ranging from retail amenity to green open space, to help make Southbank more liveable.”

Melbourne Square Commercial is located in the award-winning $2.8 billion Melbourne Square precinct which will include 2000 apartments, cafes, restaurants, Southbank’s first full line supermarket, childcare centre, Hilton Hotel and rooftop bar •

For more information: msqcommercial.com.au

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