WSP’s new workplace provides smart solutions based on a sustainable approach, and is designed to support current changes and adapt to future changes.
September 25th, 2017
A successful workplace design should support company functions, express brand values and foster employee culture. In other words, a company should practice what it preaches when it comes to workplace design. That’s certainly the case at the new Adelaide office of global engineering firm WSP. Designed by JPE Design Studio, the workplace provides smart solutions based on a sustainable approach, just like WSP.
When WSP and Parsons Brinckerhoff amalgamated – now known as WSP – the firm required a new agile workplace with the core requirements that it be: inviting, inspiring, engaging, flexible, collaborative and a showpiece. “As the two firms became one, WSP placed prime focus on bringing staff together,” says Simon Dodd, Principal at JPE. “In what is traditionally a cellular and hierarchical physical space, the newly designed environment seeks to provide an equitable, fun and collegiate environment, with a high proportion of prime workplace real estate given over to social spaces.”
The workplace is located on the first level of 1 King William Street (at the corner of North Terrace) in Adelaide’s CBD where it has vast swathes of glazing, making it highly visible from the street – and vice versa. The floor-to-floor height is almost four metres and there is a raised floor that’s original to the building. (It was a computer floor for the former bank.) The JPE design team capitalised on the height and levels by exposing the ceiling slab, incorporating elevated meeting rooms to bookend the space, and extending the raised floor to provide flexible power and data locations.
The workplace provides a range of work and social spaces based on the concept of Activity Based Working to optimise employee productivity, collaboration and culture. In addition to flexible workpoints, there is ready access to support spaces and a communal area to promote socialising and collaboration. “In an effort to promote informal interactions within the newly merged business, the entire northern side of the building is given over to social space,” Simon explains. Here, staff and visitors have a light-filled area with kitchen, meeting spaces, elevated decks and games.
Wayfinding and environmental graphics form a key design feature of the workplace. Working closely with graphic design studio Elevation Design, “the series of connected geometric shapes represent the ever expanding and connected network of WSP,” Simon says. Some spaces have also been branded to reference the North Terrace location, as well influential people within the field of engineering.
Supporting WSP’s commitment to sustainable practices, built zones have been minimised and consolidated around the building core, which also maximises natural light and views; mobile and flexible furniture future-proofs the fit out; and materials, fittings and finishes, such as carpet tiles, vinyl flooring and plywood, are environmentally sensitive selections. Other best-practice principles include chilled beam air conditioning, under-floor air conditioning to elevated meeting pods, and new highly efficient LED luminaires with daylight and motion sensors.
Change is inevitable when firms amalgamate and move office, but WSP’s new workplace is designed to positively support those changes in the short term, and adapt to the changes that will come in the future.
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Rosemary Kirkby has been described by an industry commentator as “a fearless, well-organised dynamo of a campaigner for better workplace design.” Kirkby has created internationally acclaimed and award-winning workplaces, which have revolutionised the thinking about work and workplaces and set completely new benchmarks.