The client brief had spatial requirements that the tenancy lease didn’t allow for. So we found a material solution that could literally offer more space to work in.
The Guild is a residential building situated in the middle of the Arts Precinct; adjacent to ACCA, opposite VCA and down the road from the Art’s Centre and NGV. Creative Spaces approached us about designing a co-working hub aimed at independent artists and producers. The project transformed over 1,000 square metres of vacant retail space into a co-working hub for over 30 artists, a headquarters for the Melbourne Fringe Festival, an amenities block and a board room.
When we did our preliminary layouts, we realised it wasn’t all going to fit. This inspired finding a material based solution.
We used cross laminated timber (CLT), an emerging material and product in Australia. CLT takes low-yield cuts and laminates them into a structural panel, which enables us to use a material that is inherently structural and finished in the same product. We used CLT to construct two platforms. The largest was suspended 450 millimetres off the ground, forming a seating edge around the perimeter, whilst the second hovered over the kitchen and allowed us to fit more hot desks in.
Using CLT meant the floor structure was also the finished surface. This reduced the finishing required, which was cost efficient, whilst also providing warmth and texture to what was an otherwise concrete shell. Because CLT is such a thin structural element, it allowed us to create 50% more floor area, enabling the use of a double height space, where traditionally we wouldn’t have been able to.