City of Melbourne Council House 2 – a DesignInc Sustainability Landmark

Projects / Sustainable

DesignInc’s current work on the Bourke Street Precinct Redevelopment in Melbourne’s CBD includes the redevelopment of Melbourne City Council House 1 (CH1). This undertaking has thrown the spotlight back on the original Council House 2 (CH2) development (completed in 2006), which is worth revisiting as a ground-breaking example of sustainable design that’s become one of the practice’s most enduring landmark projects.

CH2 was the first new commercial building in Australia to be awarded 6 Star Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of Australia. The structure has provided City of Melbourne (CoM) staff with a workplace that, at the time of its completion, set a new benchmark for future CBD office developments. Indeed, CoM aims to achieve zero emissions for the municipality by 2020, with a major contribution to this strategy the reduction in energy consumption of commercial buildings by 50%. CH2 was effectively designed as a pilot to show local developers exactly how this could be achieved.

A large part of its environmentally sustainable success has been the incorporation of biophilic design to promote greater connections between urban and natural environments. From the nature-inspired facades that moderate climate to the interior’s undulating concrete floor structure, the building’s biophilic expressions are distinct. Not only do they soften the 10-storey structure by introducing organic forms into its profile, but they also lend its proportions a domestic scale. As a result, the overall scheme appears relaxed, allowing for the incorporation of environmentally sustainable design (ESD) features that make for a truly healthy, comfortable working environment.

Staff and visitors still benefit from the provision of 100% fresh air pumped throughout the building at regular intervals, plenty of natural light and effective heating and cooling systems. We conceptualised CH2 with a sense of inclusivity in mind and the idea that design should always be people-centric. It’s still a much-loved building, which managed to pay for all the ESD innovations within its first ten years of existence.