Rokeby Street Commercial Building

A breathing space

116 Rokeby Street, Collingwood, Victoria

Seeing the potential of an urban industrial site in Collingwood and working alongside a progressive client, this commercial project by Carr pushes in a new direction with a deeply embedded approach to sustainability.

Rokeby Commercial Building, Collingwood.

Set within an ever-changing pocket of Collingwood, a new commercial building by Carr takes cues from the fragmented industrial materiality of Collingwood with a rigorous approach to sustainability.

The form is simple and minimalist, expressing a strong architectural repetition on the façade while bringing a holistic, inside-out approach.

The client – Figurehead – is both client and builder and through their passion for longevity in design and sustainability the project is robust in form and materiality and imbued with extensive passive measures. The architectural approach for 116 Rokeby Street looks closely at the specific conditions of the local context of Collingwood.

The design is conceived with the goal of creating a ‘breathing space’, which represents the vision for this future office. It is founded on the desire to shape spaces that harness the fundamental characteristics of abundant natural light, controlled fresh air, adaptability in space, environmental sustainability – and all set within a strong built form.

Architecturally, the tower and podium forms of the building respond to the climatic conditions of the site, which are expressed through similar proportions, rhythm, materiality and repetition in the design. Through the construction methodology there is a tactile sensibility that comes through on this building, resulting in the desired sustainable form and fabric.

The architecture is strong and robust on the western and eastern façades, akin to the fragmented and industrial palette of Collingwood, and designed to combat heat gain while maintaining views and daylight. This is complimented by a diaphanous, operable double skin façade to the north, where environmental sustainability innovation is the focus. The double skin façade is used as an architectural device to control heat and help in naturally ventilating the floor plates. The southern façade will provide a canvas for local Indigenous artwork.

Arriving at a more holistic approach with form and materiality working in tandem, the tactile surpasses the visual. This project exemplifies that a critical regionalism is required to achieve an architectural outcome of merit.

In addition to the deeply passive approach to sustainability through the built form, the Rokeby Street Commercial Building also includes extensive sustainability measures, as Associate Director Stephen McGarry shares, “From conception we have been working towards designing a gas neutral building in response to what we see as a climate and bio-diversity emergency within the industry.”

The project incorporates a passive approach to the building massing and articulation, a double skin façade, efficient lighting, smart controls, photovoltaics, significant landscaping, an all-electric building approach – all while targeting a Gold Level WELL rating. All of these initiatives will ensure the spaces provide a positive impact on the wellbeing of the end user.

A range of amenities are located throughout the building, adding to the desirability and flexible functionality for the end user. A rooftop space with outdoor meeting areas, alongside a large communal kitchen and bookable flexi-space for tenants. The ground floor includes a small but highly flexible retail tenancy, that will have the ability to adapt from day to night. Also situated at ground floor is an end of trip facility housing changing, showers, bicycle storage and parcel storage.

“Key to our planning was ensuring the building did not turn its back to Rokeby Street, as such a highly activated ground plane has been created. Rational planning ensures great visibility through the site from the street, with an F&B offering having operable and moveable elements to change throughout the day and for different uses,” says Stephen. Bringing light and air throughout the building was another critical factor. Punctuations in the podium slabs create a series of light wells to permeate through to the ground floor spaces.

The landscape strategy was another important consideration on this project, working in collaboration with Eckersley Garden Architecture. Despite the site constraints and minimal opportunity for deep soil planting significant landscaping is proposed for the ground floor, podium and the rooftop levels, with a series of raised concrete planters, integrated seating and layered planting matrix.

A key member of the project team, bringing her commercial interior design expertise, Associate Director Rebecca Trenorden says, “By being involved in the project from the very beginning we’re approaching it with a different lens, which ultimately means we’re looking at it from not just a developer perspective but a tenant perspective.” In this regard, the interiors are not a typical base building offer, instead they are all considered holistically with the architecture.

Benefiting from Carr’s expertise in commercial workplace and public realm, a design approach with a philosophy of health and wellbeing has driven maximisation of daylight, natural ventilation, vertical circulation, floorplate efficiency and whole-of-building amenity. In recent research speaking with landlords and tenants, there has been an overwhelming demand for quality tenancy offerings and high levels of amenity, even in boutique developments.

The Rokeby Street Commercial Building has a deeply holistic approach to design, sustainability and function. “We have a forward-thinking client that believes in innovative design and architecture. One that understands the tremendous value and impact that sustainability can have on how tenants will feel in the space,” shares Stephen.


Sign up for our monthly dispatch for insightful thinking on architecture and design.


Sign in to our client portal to access your latest documents, track project status and engage with your design journey.