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ATO Town Square

Woodheads interior for the Australian Tax Office in Canberra is based on the notion of a town square. Penny Craswell investigates. Read an extract from the Indesign feature article here.

ATO Town Square


March 25th, 2008

Two new buildings in Canberra’s city centre, at 60,000m2 and with around 4000 staff, make up the new headquarters for the Australian Tax Office. With impressive base buildings by Cox Richardson providing a starting point, Woodhead have recently completed the fit-out of the first building handed over – Precinct B.

The entry and atrium – two of the key elements of the space – were determined by the base building, including a large foyer with a timber morse code-patterned finish to the back wall and a long, kinked, narrow atrium, with a central stairway and cantilevered meeting pods.

While Woodhead drew on some of these features, using wood and other natural materials throughout the space, and mimicking the kink in the building in some of the joinery, much of the interior is based on Woodhead’s own application of a townscape analogy as well as their theme of ‘seasonal change and renewal’.

Each of the work floors has a connection to the atrium on one side, where meeting rooms cantilever out into the space and with a connection to the central stairway. Heading through to the work areas on each floor from the stairway or the lift lobby leads directly into the break-out space or ‘town square’. These spaces provide a central area for the floor, encouraging maximum incidental contact between staff.

“Instead of walking out from the lift directly into a sea of workstations, you come into this space – the town square” says Simon Dodd, Design Leader at Woodhead.

Read the whole feature article in indesign magazine Vol.31, in stores February 2008.


All furniture sourced by Schiavello.
Images courtesy of Ben Wrigley/photohub


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