Mirvac’s 8 Chifley Square

16 July 2013 — Mirvac’s latest commercial building, 8 Chifley Square, has been developed as a statement of environmental leadership, says Ed Lippmann of Lippmann Partnership, the Australian architectural firm that worked on the project along with the UK’s Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.

The premium grade 34-storey building in the centre of Sydney’s CBD is owned jointly by Mirvac Property Trust and K-REIT Asia, and came at a cost of $154.4 million with a net lettable area of 19,120 square metres. Engineering services were provided by Arup.

Lippmann said that Mirvac “from day one wanted to send the message loud and clear that they wanted to make it a flagship development for good corporate citizenship”.

“They certainly want this to be a statement of their position as leading the charge for good design and environmental leadership,” he said.

Overall, 8 Chifley Square is expected to have a carbon footprint reduction of 70 per cent compared with a typical building of its size.

The building, which has attained a 6 Star Green Star – Office Design v2 rating and is targeting a five star NABERS rating, has many cutting edge sustainability features, said Lippmann.

First up is a roof-mounted trigeneration system using waste heat from electricity production to reduce grid electricity demand.

Then there’s a black water treatment plant that can process 20,000 litres of sewage a day with the water reused to flush toilets, irrigate landscape, and reduce potable water use and sewage discharge.

There’s a steel structure on the roof, which could support the future addition of solar PV panels when the technology becomes commercially viable for the building. Lippmann said it was about “future proofing” the building, but that currently, based on the number of hours of sunlight, the benefits didn’t add up, and that inclusion of the panels wouldn’t have added to the project’s Green Star credits.

Much of the building has a high percentage of recycled content, said Lippmann, which has led to a 40 per cent reduction in embodied energy of structural material.

The building features landscaped sky gardens, too, and the air quality up there is apparently much better than would be found on the street.

The architects made the decision not to go for the usual “high performance glass box” design, said Lippmann. Instead, they’ve opted for an external curtain wall shading system, which means the facade is virtually clear glass, allowing views in and out of the office.

“It makes the architecture far more legible and interesting,” he said, while the external curtain wall stops low angle sun on the north, west and east sides.

The curtain wall is also functional, providing a “cat walk” to clean the glass.

Another significant feature is the low level of car parking. For the nearly 20,000 sq m of NLA, there’s only 32 car spots. Instead, the building has 130 bicycle bays, with amenities like showers and change rooms to encourage the behavioural change.

“That’s four times as many bikes as cars,” said Lippmann.

Key to the design is the tenancy “villages” concept. There are seven “villages” which have been designed to provide a high level of connectivity, interaction and amenity through “vertical integration”.  The villages range in size from 1800 sq m to 2650 sq m and are separated by single floors.

The office space also starts at the sixth floor to allow public access over the first five floors and a better interface with the outdoor environment.

Previous Mirvac managing director Nick Collishaw last year said that the company had a long-standing success in translating sustainability philosophies into tangible outcomes, and that 8 Chifley Square was “another example of how, through our integrated approach, we can deliver positive results for our tenants, investors and also for the environment in which we operate”.

Current tenants include Corrs Chambers Westgarth and QBE Insurance.

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