In December 2008 Sydney Water engaged Brookfield Multiplex for the design and construction of the new Potts Hill Workplace Facility. For more than 100 years the Potts Hill reservoir site has been integral in supplying water to the people of Sydney.
Sydney Water provided a brief for the development of 4.5 hectares on the 116 hectare site, designed to accommodate over 400 people across 6,000 square metres of double storey office space. This included an integrated base build and an office fit-out, providing a column-free, open plan working environment.
The facility embraces the social change in contemporary workspaces more often associated with CBD office buildings. It features an entry forecourt to the south west and an outdoor recreation deck to the north east, housing a wide range of workspace arrangements (hot desks, workstations, enclosed offices) on a large open floor plate. A wide, naturally top-lit internal linear ‘street’ provides the building’s social hub and communal space.
A 7,000 m2 warehouse, designed to cater for Sydney Water’s emergency response teams, maintenance field workers and equipment storage, utilises Industrial Lightweight Beams (ILB).
Focusing on passive environmental strategies, the project has been awarded a 5 Star Green Star Design rating. Extensive sun shading on the main facade, mixed mode ventilation, daylight penetration, rainwater harvesting and recycled timber cladding are some of the strategies adopted.
The material choice throughout - polished concrete floors, perforated plywood panels, an expressed steel frame and timber cladding – references the semi-industrial use of the facility. However, the design takes operations and technical workers out of traditionally poor accommodation into a workplace designed to the same standard as traditional office buildings. It was conceived in response to the professional needs of Sydney Water’s field workers.