1 September 2011 – It has taken 12 years from go to whoa, 3000 workers at various stages of construction, a meshing of ambitious design and new technology, a potentially lethal confrontation with an advancing global financial crisis, but at last the six star Green Star 1 Bligh Street Sydney, officially opened on Tuesday night in style.
No less than the Prime Minister herself did the honours.
She was flanked by Victor Hoog Antink and Adrian Pozzo of co-owners Dexus and CBus Property’, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, former Victorian premier Steve Bracks on the Cbus board) and architects Christoph Ingenhoven who had flown in from Germany just for the occasion and Ray Brown of Architectus, who invited Ingenhoven onto his design competition winning bid. Not to mention a phalanx of property industry people, chief executive of the Green Building Council and major building tenants Clayton Utz.
Ms Gillard did not waste the opportunity to point out that 1 Bligh Street was an example of what a carbon price and a “cleaner more sustainable future” might look like.
“For many Australians when they hear talk about carbon pricing and a sustainable future I think some of them think we are asking them to live without the creature comforts they have grown accustomed to,” Ms Gillard said.
“They should come and look at this building, a beautiful building, a building they would be proud to work in, a building with a magnificent outlook with all the features that people would want in modern office accommodation, and here it is being done at six star sustainability,” she said.
“It was people living differently but living well and that’s what 1 Bligh Street is proving in this city.”
Victor Hoog Antink, the Dexus chief executive officer who had thrown himself (gently) over the edge the day before to abseil down the internal atrium in a stunt to promote the Property Industry Foundation opened proceedings. See our article
It had been a massive undertaking. With construction starting just as the global financial crisis started to show its teeth, Hoog Antink ploughed through. See our coverage
He thanked APP, Arup, Cundall, Rider Levett Bucknall, NDY, and of course builder Grocon, all of whom “embraced our 3 D BIM [building
information modelling], who came on the journey and made big contributions,” he said.
“The passion of Grocon was unparalleled,” he said.
Joint owner CBus jumped in just after the start, in 2008. CEO Adrian Pozzo stood up on stage, thanking the 3000 workers who had worked on site during its five year build phase.
This was “Cbus investing back into the industry; this is your retirement savings working,” Pozzo said.
The PM noted the challenge.
“I was very taken when I came here about this story about what had got everybody to this place, to this moment of opening. It’s been a long journey,” Ms Gillard said.
“I wanted as prime minister to say, thank you very much for keeping the faith during some difficult economic days during the global
financial crisis and sustaining people in work.
“Thank you very much for having the imagination and the courage to say that a building like this, that is in so many ways before its time, was the appropriate building for this location.”
It had taken “creativity and a lot of hard work,”
She wanted to thank everybody involved, from the financing to the “working through of the plans, the architects who have realised the vision to the people who have come and worked on this site, and I see a number of their union representatives tonight.”
And then the countdown. And the fireworks.