22 Feb 24

Blue & William shortlisted for AIA NSW Architecture Award

The distinctive boutique workplace Blue & William designed by Woods Bagot has been shortlisted in the Commercial Architecture category of the 2024 Australian Institute of Architects (AIA) NSW Chapter Awards.

The design team from Woods Bagot includes Principals in Charge Jason Faser and Sarah Kay, Project Leader Sasha Mijic, Christopher Teo, Su Chen, Solomon Romion and Eveline Betschart.  

Developed by Lendlease and owned by Keppel REIT, Blue & William is a mid-scale commercial building showcasing a deceptively simple design that celebrates its location and maximises the stunning Sydney Harbour and city views over 10 carefully considered levels.

Set on the southwest edge of North Sydney’s CBD, Blue & William is a distinctive addition to the skyline, a stylish diversion from surrounding commercial buildings through its manageable scale and uniquely local materiality.

Terracotta, kiln-fired and glazed in a reddish-ochre finish, frames each oversized 3.6m x 3.6m floor-to-ceiling window, adding character to the glass façade, while the building’s form is enhanced by a series of cascading terraces magnifying the water and city panorama.

The deployment of terracotta at Blue & William is a direct response to the neighbourhood, a place of red bricks and terracotta roofs leading down to the Harbour edge, wrapped around a site-specific, future conscious workplace.

Continuing the theme, a selection of the red bricks from the mid-century apartment blocks that previously stood on the site adjacent to Shore School were retained and integrated into the new building.

The same approach was taken with sandstone excavated from the site, which has two primary street conditions requiring different approaches.

To the south Woods Bagot pulled in the façade at Blue Street to create a more generous public space and sense of arrival, creating a public gesture of giveback to the community.

On William Street, the character changes very quickly and here Woods Bagot has created a quieter, more landscaped edge that mediates the falls and buffers of the building from the street and neighbours.

The building’s form responds to the sloping site and view, with the cascading terraces a key element that open the building up to the natural environment and enable staff to work outside if they want.

Users are greeted by rich landscape and materiality drawn from the public spaces on Blue Street and into the lobby and wellness garden, which engages all users with nature.

There is a visual connection to landscape at all levels including the ground floor where the tree canopy of the wellness garden and the Blue Street landscape connect via the lobby. The form lifts off the ground plane to connect the public spaces to the heart of the building.

Integrated public domain seating utlilises brickwork along Blue and Williams Streets. Brick slip soffits at lower levels clearly define the masonry reference at a three-storey scale – both floor and soffit finishes are brick.

Large contemporary workplace floorplates that vary in size up to 1500sqm were created to meet specific tenant drivers in the North Sydney market while responding to local controls and constraints. This move has been justified with a strong leasing response.

Sustainability is at the heart of this design and Blue & William has achieved 5 Green Star Rating and a 5.5 NABERS Energy certification.

Video by Motel Picture Company @motelpicturecompany

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