Bishops See South, Perth

The brief for Bishop’s See South called for a commercial office building of approximately 18000m2 nett lettable area as the first stage of a two stage development - stage one effectively laying the ground-work for stage two. Constraints included maintaining through-site links and a street address on St Georges Terrace to the North. The site is part of a historic precinct, with heritage gardens to the South and St Georges House on the North side between it and the Terrace.

The design response took lead from the typology of a temple, with a heavy flat base on which sits a building that exposes its structure, allowing connection to the surrounding landscape between its structural bays. The site slopes to the South, allowing the podium to be dug into the site on the North side, providing a future underground connection to stage two and on-grade connection to St Georges Terrace and the site’s Eastern neighbours. Cladding the podium with stone materially responds to the adjacent limestone walls enclosing the historic gardens.

Housed behind the Podium’s stone exterior are two carpark levels and a loading dock, accessed off Spring Street to the West, as well as bicycle spaces and associated shower and changing facilities. This base is constructed using in-situ concrete on raft footings, addressing the site’s unstable sandy geology.

On the flat top of the Podium sits the rest of the building, overlooking the gardens and the Swan River beyond. The Ground Floor is shared by office space facing South over the gardens, a generous open foyer and conference facilities facing North. The Ground Floor opens out onto the flat Podium surface with frameless glazing in-set from the levels above.

The building above comprises 9 levels of commercial office space, set out as two parallel wings joined with connecting office space and core areas within the floor plate. These levels are in turn set back on the North and South sides from the external precast concrete structure, which runs continuously up the full height of the building and beyond, wrapping over the top of the roof in a series of squared-off trusses. The East and West facades are framed with stainless steel rectangles enclosing aluminium sunshades spanning the width of both wings at each floor level, providing shading from low-angled sunlight from these directions.

The roof houses much of the building’s plant and is overlooked by taller neighbours, requiring the plant to be effectively enclosed. Louvres are used on the Southern part of the enclosure for ventilation, with translucent cellular cladding the rest, allowing the roof top to be lit from inside at night.

The building’s design has been awarded a 5 Green Star rating by the Green Building Council for incorporating environmental sustainable technology and amenity.