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National Australia Bank Docklands

A Building Designed Around an Organisation.

Located in Melbourne’s Docklands, 700 Bourke Street is a pivotal new workplace for National Australia Bank (NAB) with architecture, interior design and workplace consulting by Woods Bagot.

The site location, between Southern Cross Station and Etihad Stadium, generates incredible footfall, while its position beside sunken train lines allows the entire west façade of the building to be visible from the city. 

Responding to its triangular site, the architecture embraces the triangle as its primary visual motif, with a magnificent triangular atrium rising through the centre of the building. Three vertical fissures snake their way down the façade of the building, breaking down the scale of the enormous footprint. Triangulated façade panels on the exterior of these “cathedral windows” are coloured red, orange, yellow and green.

The point of entry to 700 Bourke Street is characteristic of the radical approach that NAB sought for the building, with a main entry for pedestrians and an entry from the road on a separate level below. This approach is reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s early experiments separating cars from people on different levels.

700 Bourke Street is the result of a long relationship between NAB and Woods Bagot, with this workplace providing NAB with an opportunity to affect organisational change and achieve business efficiencies. Woods Bagot’s design takes a real time working approach, using information-age mobility, virtual working and a focus on collaboration to inform the design of the working environment

The total floor area of 75,000m2 is positioned around a central, light-filled atrium and divided into eight zones that act as hubs for 50 people, with the added flexibility of 100 drop-in staff, community and consultants. Each of these zones are subsequently sub-dividable into a series of spaces for social, shared, focused and learning environments.

Many of the most innovative aspects of 700 Bourke Street came about as a result of a unique process of stakeholder engagement. A series of workshops, held early in the process, allowed a collaborative approach involving the Woods Bagot architectural team, NAB, Cbus Property, the master plan team and the Woods Bagot interior design team, replacing the more linear approach that is common in the design of a building of this scale.



Inside out design and visual connectivity

Upon entry to the building from the main internal street your gaze is drawn skywards to the triangular atria above. In the centre of the large atria is a triangular form held by a single expressed column, linked each level by stairs. From the street it is possible to see the entire atrium and, surrounding it, the whole organisation literally working together providing a sense of connection, transparency and community. A gentle hum of the 6,000 people working collaboratively, meeting, sharing, learning and socialising . On the upper level, a large roof garden provides another option as a work environment and is connected to the café and help desk and building support spaces.

The 24 metre deep floor plates offer a very efficient space plan and with the large internal atria providing daylights deep inside the building, the occupant is drawn to the social spaces and meeting zones around the edges thus providing the buzz and movement. 

A key attribute designed into the overall building is the ability to visually connect with people, team members and different business units. 

Cross-selling is enabled by the openness between floors and visual accessibility which improves the exposure of the various teams to the visitor. Each team has the opportunity to ‘advertise’ to others and can display their project and business data on the rear of their Huddles.


Real-time working

The workplace has been designed using a Real Time Working (RTW) approach with Woods Bagot’s consulting and interior design teams providing National Australia Bank's people with a diverse menu of spaces, ultimately driving business transformation and embedding positive organisational change. Real time working is a team-based working approach that uses information age mobility and virtual working capabilities to harness the energy of teams. Supporting physical and virtual synchronicity, parallel processes and collaboration rather than conventional sequential and predominantly individual work, the new real time workplace concept supports cross-silo teams that are highly focused on achieving goals in rapid time.

This translates to the physical work environment through the provision of spaces and technology that allow for spontaneous problem-solving without the necessity to move away from the context and lose the energy and momentum of collaboration.

In addition to the technology enablement, work areas are divided into project-focused 'micro-climates' intended to encourage people to move around the building to find a suitable space for their task at hand, thereby: 

  • facilitating knowledge exchange through chance encounters 
  • driving collaboration through formal and informal opportunities 
  • spurring innovation through moments of serendipity. 

700 Bourke Street is a building that builds communities and challenges the “norm”. It allows people to share ideas and innovations easily by removing barriers, increasing mobility and providing a choice of spaces to work. We have moved beyond the analogue desk being at the centre of people’s lives to a digital mobile, flexible, and fluid menu of spaces creating a new type of workspace. The building is open and connected visually and physically to encourage people to move and seek working relationships. In a flexible environment, knowledge management becomes critical as people are more agile and need the right types of spaces to share ideas quickly.



National Australia Bank/Cbus Property


Melbourne, Australia


63,000 sq m



Completion Date



Base building design awarded 6 Star Green Star / As built rating yet to be awarded 


Australian Institute of Architects: Victorian Architecture, Commercial Architecture Award and Interior Architecture Award

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