People's Choice Shortlist - Tract Office by Architect EAT, Australia

Architects EAT

Award: People's Choice (Shortlist)
Category: Commercial Business
Project: Tract Office
Country of Design: Australia

The Challenge:

The Tract office is a direct response to the client's brief specifying a workplace that promotes wellbeing and collaboration while reflecting the company's creativity, innovation and professionalism. We transformed a large 1360-square-metre space into a working landscape housing 131 workstations and facilities for multi-disciplined design professionals. Tract is designed to encapsulate the client's four professional disciplines: landscape design, urban design, town planning and digital media. We reimagined this blank canvas as an environment that "facilitates the merging of boundaries between … disciplines".

The Process

We adopted a collective process that inspired the design team to draw on the personality of the client, based on a strong sense of place, a slight nostalgia and an excitement for the new. We connected the space to the previous office precinct via, for example, subtle tonal variations in the colour scheme and bespoke leaf-like feature lighting; these are a direct link to the lush garden hues and foliage of the previous space. This thematic gesture resonates throughout the project - the radial design is a nod to landscape cartography, for example, as seen in the undulating contour lines; we used variations in materiality - metal, rope, concrete, wood, plant integration - in recognition of the landscape and urban environments the client designs.

The Design

From entry to exit, the unique, layered radial design imitates the landscape; a bespoke concrete feature wall, with its mix of texture and colour ,undulates mimicking contour lines. From here the congregation areas unfurl, and distinction between indoor and out is marked by subtle change in materiality - the overhanging rope and metal custom lighting, each shadow reminiscent of courtyard foliage; and wooden joinery, all but visually cut by the large glazed doors to the terrace.

A series of 'roads' flow from collaborative space to communal area, meeting room to workstation - the connectivity is reminiscent of a village or community, not simply a workplace. The terrain allows intuitive movement and flexibility, accentuated by custom furniture; metal grids can be used for storage, desks or screening. F&B styling adds layers to communal areas, while taut ropes connect or cocoon spaces. Each section of this open landscape is subtly defined by tonal variation, texture, materiality and layering.

The true innovation of this interior space is the radial fashion of the floor plan. This deliberate break in traditional layout facilitates natural human spatial passage, and workspaces are arranged accordingly. To the left, flowing directly from the point of arrival, are social and collaborative spaces, while to the secluded right are workstations, both private and common. Radial connection continues from indoor communal areas to the outer terrace where wooden raised garden beds and tiered seating provide a fresh oasis with CBD views.

The Result

The Tract office has grown from a vast grey void into a living, breathing, intuitive space. It is this strong sense of place, environment, texture and personality that make this project an exemplar of harmonious phenomenological design.

Vote for your favourite workspace design here.

Voting ends on 20th March 2018, Tuesday 2359 (GMT+8).