Aurecon provides engineering services to a new commercial building on 54 Wellington Street precinct in the suburb of Collingwood.


54 Wellington Street, Melbourne, Australia

A new commercial precinct timber building on Melbourne's city fringe

  • Aurecon’s role: Structural engineering, environmentally sustainable design, building services design, acoustic engineering, civil engineering, wind engineering, surveying
  • Client: Impact Investment Group
  • Project team: John Wardle Architects, Probuild/Grocon

Creating inspiring new workspaces in Melbourne’s sought-after city fringe, two buildings at 54 Wellington embody character and sustainability with recycled construction materials and timber construction.

The 15 000-square-metre precinct in the suburb of Collingwood is part of a broader trend towards developing institutional-grade assets on the outer fringe of cities.

Aurecon applied its structural, civil, acoustic and building services engineering, and environmentally-sustainable design skills, to design an aggregation of buildings that celebrates the precinct’s industrial past and modern future.

Construction over an operational telephone exchange

The tallest building in the precinct is a 12-storey commercial office building. It was constructed over the top of a fully operational telephone exchange. There were significant engineering challenges as the telephone exchange was a maze of complex layered infrastructure.

Aurecon’s integrated design approach incorporated a systematic interdisciplinary and holistic design to solve the many technical challenges. An example was the coordination of superstructure support through the operating exchange’s infrastructure. This minimised service interruptions and facilitated the support for more than one-third of the building through the use of twin double trusses specifically designed for the limited lifting and erection requirements over the exchange.

Using engineered timber for design and aesthetics

Inspired by the environmental benefits and versatility of timber, a five-storey companion building was constructed using glulam (glue laminated timber) beams and cross-laminated timber (CLT) flooring.

The engineered timber has a lower carbon footprint than traditional building materials and sourced from certified sustainably-managed forests. It also allowed precise offsite prefabrication and safer, cleaner and quieter on-site construction.

By using a fully composite approach to the timber design, Aurecon was able to design generally larger column-free spaces compared to a typical engineered timber office building, creating a more open and welcoming interior aesthetic. Floor to ceiling timber and glass facade maximises the connection between the indoor space and the outdoor laneway that curves around the corner of the precinct.

The laneway incorporates bricks recycled from the demolition of some of the existing structures, following environmental design principles.

Integrated design delivers sustainable outcomes

The sustainably-designed buildings demonstrate a commitment to embodying sustainable practices within the built form.

Insulation was installed underneath the facade soffits to lower the building’s heating and cooling demands for a more comfortable interior temperature for occupants. Double-glazed facade glass, operable windows for passive ventilation, rainwater capture and reuse for greening the building’s rooftop terraces, and the integration of solar panels on the roof, further deliver on the sustainability strategies for the site.

It is estimated that these initiatives saved approximately 47 400 tonnes of embodied carbon across the project.

A lifecycle assessment study has demonstrated a 33 per cent reduction in CO 2 equivalents via the decisions made as part of the design process. This is equivalent to taking approximately 10 300 cars off the road for a year, or alternatively the annual emissions of 2 800 typical Australian households.

Modelling results indicate the project also has 150 per cent cumulative environmental impact reduction reported across a variety of impact categories including ozone depletion, acidification, eutrophication, photochemical ozone creation, mineral depletion, and fossil fuel depletion.

54 Wellington is aiming for a number of sustainability ratings including a 6 Star Green Star, 5 Star NABERS Energy and WELL Core & Shell v1 Platinum.

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