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Australia

Barwon Water’s reimagined HQ labelled a jewel after awards win, Ryrie St, Geelong, Victorian Architecture Awards, GMHBA Stadium, GHD Woodhead


A DECISION to refurbish not demolish Barwon Water’s Ryrie St headquarters has transformed it to regional jewel, an architecture jury has said.

The $32 million refurbishment led by GHD Woodhead won the Sir Osborn McCutcheon Award for Commercial Architecture and also won in the sustainable architecture category at the Victorian Architecture Awards, presented on Friday.

Commercial jury chair Rene Rizzo said it stood as an example for future developments by encouraging architects to question whether rebuilding was the most effective and efficient option.

“The jury was impressed with the proactive role the architect and consultant team played in the decision to reimagine rather than demolish Barwon Water’s tired, poorly performing existing building, so as to retain the embodied energy of the primary structural frame,” Mr Rizzo said.

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“Originally made up of two disjointed brutalist concrete wings constructed in the 1960s and 70s, the architects have deftly reoriented public access and opened up the possibility of civic links,” he said.

“The insertion of a stairwell atrium between the two wings has increased floor area as well as allowing a welcomed sense of connection between the floors and studios.

“This building is an accomplished example of the architects’ skill and imagination in economically and sustainably transforming a building earmarked for demolition into a regional jewel.”

The jury commended the use of sun shading and patterned glazing and noted how the sealed and pressurised HVAC system provided excellent thermal comfort.

Barwon Water employees from three sites moved into the Ryrie HQ in mid-2017.

The consolidation of corporate activities had reduced operational costs and provided more employees with a healthy, secure and modern workplace, managing director Tracey Slatter said.

“The refurbished accommodation has encouraged improved business practices, enhanced our reputation as an employer of choice and helped foster greater collaboration and innovation,” Ms Slatter said.

Consolidating Geelong-based employees into the one office has seen 70 per cent reduction in electricity use and 90 per cent reduction in gas use and almost halves maintenance, operational and energy costs of maintaining the previous buildings.

GMHBA Stadium’s stage four development was commended in the commercial architecture category, whil Bellemo & Cat was commended for its Moonah House design at Point Lonsdale.



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