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Sydney: Global architecture studio Woods Bagot has completed its largest-ever office design project in Australia, enabling the NSW Government to execute its ambitious hub workplace strategy at Parramatta despite the disruption caused by COVID-19.
The work culminated with the recent opening by the state government of its new offices at 6 Parramatta Square, a 55-level twin-tower in the heart of Sydney’s second CBD, where the NSW Government is investing billions of dollars in transport infrastructure through the Sydney Metro West and Parramatta Light Rail projects, underpinning a regional development boom.
Amanda Stanaway, Global Leader – Workplace Design, said over the past five years Woods Bagot has designed and delivered 109,000 square metres (sqm) of connected workspace for the NSW Government at Parramatta – 15 levels of 6 Parramatta Square and all 33 floors of the adjoining tower at 4 Parramatta Square, which opened in late 2019.
Stace Fishwick, Executive Director Commercial Development and Management at Property and Development NSW said the NSW Government Campus Hub at 4 and 6 Parramatta Square completes a “significant revolution” – bringing together around 10,000 government workers from multiple departments at a “future focused workplace” in Parramatta.
“The tower at 6 Parramatta Square successfully adapted to a changing world. It was designed during the pandemic and demonstrated in real time that well designed spaces can flexibly respond and adapt to changing tenant and user requirements,” Mr Fishwick said.
“The strong sustainable design of 6 Parramatta Square reinforces the government’s approach to bringing people together into workplace hubs, creating efficiencies and reducing our environmental footprint, while still creating quality spaces that cater to all types of workers with a variety of work settings and a consistent and seamless user journey.”
Ms Stanaway said Woods Bagot and the builder, Built, pressed ahead with construction of 6 Parramatta Square through the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, meeting the design and development challenges posed by the pandemic head-on.
“The relationship and trust formed with our partners during the 4 Parramatta Square project coupled with a growing acceptance of a changing way of work across the NSW Government agencies enabled us to get through what was a very challenging period,” Ms Stanaway said.
She explained: “6 Parramatta Square is an evolution of previous work completed for the NSW government to support a more agile and hybrid workforce.
“Like most of our clients, the NSW Government continues to evolve how they curate their workforce, elevating the role the physical office plays in enabling culture, connection, and collaboration.”
Project leader Leonie Weiss said Woods Bagot had no choice but to adopt an agile approach during lockdown.
“Unexpectedly, the design needed to respond to challenges arising through the pandemic with added touchless points, some rebalancing of individual and collaboration settings and reimagining how you could occupy space with a reduced workforce,” she said.
“We worked closely with Property and Development NSW to assess how we could prepare an environment that was ‘safe’ and accommodate changes in share and spatial use ratios while adapting to the future and hybrid working as the situation continually evolved.”
Ms Weiss said key design elements include a dedicated podium arrival area for staff and guests and generous allocations of shared spaces for differing work patterns.
There is also an entire floor on level 11 dedicated to meeting rooms, relaxation, gathering spaces and touchdown workspace for visiting NSW Government employees.
“Living and working in a time of change must be attractive and suitable for a broad range of employee types – there’s no one-size fits all approach anymore,” Ms Weiss said.
While Parramatta Square is the largest office design project undertaken by Woods Bagot in Australia, the 109,000sqm footprint falls well short of the company’s biggest-ever workplace interior for Chinese tech giant Tencent, owner of WeChat and other popular apps
Its Beijing office, completed in 2019, encompasses 170,000sqm of office space over seven-levels.
Parramatta Square is a significant commercial precinct including four A-Grade towers and a public square developed, owned and managed by Walker Corporation.
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