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Essays | Corporate HQ
n late 2011, Perth ranked highest as the
preferred location of corporate power in
Australia, accounting for 34 per cent of the
total firms listed on the Australian Stock
Exchange. As an emerging corporate centre
for the resources sector, the roll-on effect has seen
mining attract engineering, which attracts finance,
legal and information technology, which boosts
other areas like architecture and design. And they
all contribute to the socio-economic and cultural
development of our city. Inevitably, the nature
of working and living in our city is evolving as this
corporate influence moves in and the latest office,
retail and hospitality offerings reflect the new age.
Encouragingly, it seems there is also an
increasing public interest in, and appreciation
of, higher-quality design values. This was
overwhelmingly apparent in the recent inaugural
Open House Perth weekend that saw 47,643 visitors
flocking to the CBD to explore and celebrate their
city and the designed environment.
Corporate office design is going through
a significant transformation. Companies are
competing at the highest levels and allocating large
portions of their real estate budgets to fit-outs and
buildings that will attain appropriate prestige while
The latest office, retail and hospitality offerings reflect the
new wave of high-end corporate influences rolling into town.
WORDS Georgina Barker
providing a high level of positive experience and
amenity, the latest technologies, and increased
community and collaboration spaces.
The new BHP Billiton office at Brookfield Place
is an exciting example of just this. With a focus on
productivity and community, the elevator core is on
the back of the building, rather than in the centre.
This allows for a floor plan that opens to the river and
eliminates the implied hierarchy that comes with
views – or lack of – and positioning workstations
around a traditional central core. Its collaboration
and large meeting spaces are on the lower levels
and, rather than placing the executives at the top
of the tower with the best views, the top floor has
been given to the people - a statement about how
the corporation values its employees. The precinct
surrounding the tower provides a variety of public,
retail and hospitality spaces that the city has been
lacking, and is an excellent exercise on both place
making and the restoration of heritage buildings.
An increasing number of existing buildings
in the CBD are also being upgraded due to tenant
and peer pressure, standards for sustainability and
greater competition in the corporate office market.
“The trend is towards larger floor plates with
simpler geometric shapes,” says Woods Bagot
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