Aurecon Smart Centre, Melbourne, Australia

Focusing on smart building innovation and sustainability

  • Aurecon's role: Mechanical, electrical, structural, civil, façade, acoustics, fire engineering
  • Client: Lendlease
  • Project team: Geyer – fit-out design

Aurecon designed its headquarters in Melbourne with a focus on smart building innovation and sustainability, with staff needs driving the design.

Conceived and designed by Aurecon’s engineers, the 8-storey, 5-Star Green Star Aurecon Centre houses all 700 Melbourne-based staff in the top five interconnected floors to offer innovative, market-leading standards of air quality, energy efficiency and sustainability.

Developed by Lendlease, a crucial element of Aurecon’s brief was to include features that would be important to tenants, without adding cost to the bottom line. It was Aurecon’s role to balance the right mix of technologies to achieve a high-quality working environment – one that is a pleasure for both staff and clients to work in.

Collaboration key to innovation

Collaboration as means to foster innovation is a key principle that drives the way Aurecon operates as a company. Through its wide range of meeting areas and communal spaces, the Aurecon Smart Centre creates opportunities for connection.

Each floor echoes the business and brand objectives of ‘bringing ideas to life’ by skilfully combining striking architectural features, living plants, and energy-efficient design. Overall, the centre offers an open and inviting workspace in which people and clients can thrive.

Collaboration was also paramount to the success of the project. Aurecon's mechanical, electrical, and structural teams worked with Lendlease from concept to completion to achieve a shared vision and provide the best outcomes for the project.

“Across all disciplines, Aurecon was very flexible and also proactive in their problem-solving. They helped us build [the Aurecon Centre] in a quicker time frame and get the best result for the project,” said Martin Hills, Project Manager, Lendlease Project Management and Construction.

Leveraging digital technologies

Essentially, the Aurecon Smart Centre is a digital platform that connects a range of sensors that are located throughout the building. These sensors can be found in places like the main walkways, stairwells, bike racks, office areas, lunch break-out rooms, recreational areas and meeting rooms. They are linked to an online platform that allows the user to identify and interpret a range of useful data to recommend how the building should be modified.

Through its data insights, the centre is providing greater understanding of key concepts associated with buildings of the future:

Space and facilities optimisation

The Smart Centre enables monitoring of a variety of simultaneous dynamics: how many people are working from home, how the teams are interacting, when they are interacting, how many people are using meeting rooms, etc.

Especially as working environments become more flexible, ideas around optimal use of space and facilities need to be redefined and communicated. Ultimately, the Aurecon Smart Centre platform helps the Aurecon team to ensure the centre and all employees are best positioned to meet their vision of collaboration and staff engagement.

Comfort and well-being

Studies show that businesses that invest in their staff’s comfort and overall wellness have higher levels of productivity and overall company satisfaction. Aurecon found ways to locate the columns as far away from the façade as possible. This maximised views from desks and natural light.

Aurecon’s requirement for an open stair through five floors of the building, to encourage movement and interaction, also introduced issues, including the potential for fire to spread between floors and for smoke to block safe escape routes.

Aurecon’s fire engineering, mechanical and structural teams, developed a solution that takes advantage of the existing under-floor air conditioning system to extract and contain smoke. This avoided the cost and time required to install extra mechanical systems.

An external terrace with outdoor furniture and BBQ facilities for staff enjoyment and client events overlooks Docklands parklands and is also Wi-Fi enabled as an outdoor working space.

The Smart Centre allows the Aurecon team to review these initiatives, by looking at scenarios such as: comparing stair vs. lift use; measuring bike facility usage; monitoring indoor air quality; using wearables to promote health initiatives; understanding drinking water consumption; and optimising daylight, temperature and humidity levels. Together, these factors can determine the success of a building’s design for the people who work in it and occupy its space.


Productivity metrics enables understanding of the way people connect and find the resources they need. By monitoring staff preferences and patterns of movements throughout the office, it is possible to analyse the use of designated areas like social spaces and break-out rooms.

This data compiles an overall picture of the type of environment that best fosters productivity and collaboration between co-workers.


Sustainability initiatives include:

  • A ‘once-past-the-face’ air conditioning air flow that provides outdoor air ventilation at twice the code requirement – each person has a floor grille located at their desk with which they can control their airflow and local climate
  • Fully automated energy efficient office lighting that includes up-lighting of the ceiling to minimise office space ‘gloom’
  • Building façades that reduce energy consumption. The building has grey, double glazed low-e windows that trap heat on the surface and prevent it from radiating into the office and help to eliminate glare. This also means an increase in natural light, giving the office an open and bright feel
  • Perimeter opening windows in meeting rooms and the open office area provide natural ventilation
  • Water saving techniques include the collection and re-use of rainwater and fire test water for toilet flushing
  • Reflective back window blinds to control heat and glare from perimeter full height glass façade
  • Energy efficient multi-zone inverter type tenancy air conditioning to larger meeting rooms
  • Heat recovery kitchen boiling water units that use chilled water refrigeration heat rejection to warm the sink hot and boiling water supplies
  • Data centre in-row cooling with hot aisle cold aisle containment for energy efficiency cooling
  • Material, furniture and workstation selections with sustainable attributes and/or accreditation

The Smart Centre platform also allows Aurecon to gauge and track its level of sustainability by looking at patterns in electricity and water usage, fuel consumption, and paper printed.

The Smart Centre can track data such as the number of meeting rooms in use and electricity wasted by computers left on over the weekend. Heat mapping of light fittings can test energy and equipment use, and influence of ambient temperatures from outside elements.

Temperatures are tested through the Smart Centre to find the optimal range for mood and comfort. The platform offers intelligent, real-time data that demands honest assessment in our ongoing efforts to align the company to a future ready sustainable agenda.

Through data insights, Aurecon can make continuous improvements and optimisations to support cost saving and productivity gains, while fostering staff happiness and engagement.

Completed in 2012, the Smart Centre is the digital layer to the Aurecon Centre building that helps turn data into actionable improvements for the organisation.

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