A hundred years ago, the accomplishments of pioneering wool millers were cemented in the scale of Yarra Falls Ltd’s Abbotsford operations. Today, Computershare’s entrepreneurial success story is woven into its global headquarters through our adapted reuse of Yarra Falls Spinning Mills.
Our sustainable design entwines a history of industrial and technological innovation by respecting the heritage and environs of the site. Making the most of the mill’s existing structure and riverside locale, this ‘hip, soulful warehouse’ puts Computershare’s people first with interiors that prioritise connection — to one another, to history and to nature.
“We wanted our history, heritage and location to help re-define the office as a global centre for inspiration and creativity within the company for years to come.”
Mark McDougall, Computershare’s Global Chief Information Officer
Integrating a large and previously very dark wool mill and an existing 1980s building opens up a new three-level, 7,000 m² workplace. Distinct zones, each with its own identity and function, are unified by a central social area designed for connection and drop-in working. Natural light suffuses the spaces, which is filtered throughout the building via a large central skylight.
A central, 14-metre-long steel bridge connects the social heart with the work areas, mirroring nearby bridges that connect the urban environment into the surrounding parkland.
“Symbolically, the bridge connects with history and place, with the form drawn from the weaving processes of the mill.”
Dan Cox, Principal
Computershare’s Abbotsford base is located where Melbourne’s inner-city buzz meets the calming influence of the Yarra riverside. Our workplace architects and interior designers coined the term ‘urban nature’ to describe the unique setting and our design strategy.
“Our magnetic workplace enables people to come together easily with thoughtful settings that replicate many attractive work-from-home aspects.”
Dan Cox, Principal
Our transformation is orchestrated in three key moves. The first carves out a central social heart focused on idyllic vistas over the Yarra. The second optimises the building’s inherent attributes for light and views. The third creates distinct zones to suit a variety of work styles and activities — individual and team-based, in-person and virtual, focused and relaxed, indoors and out.
The connection to nature is seamless. Daylight suffuses every shared space and is delivered to every desk. Green vistas abound and expansive indoor-outdoor terraces invite employees to enjoy opportunities to connect and work in the open air.
Instead of allocating two-thirds of the space to individual workstations, that proportion is dedicated to social connection and teamwork. Computershare’s colleagues all welcome the inclusion of a wellness studio, recreation areas and spaces for contemplation and time out that complement zones dedicated to hybrid working and high focus. Far from conventional, the contemporary makeover creates a welcoming and flexible environment where employees want to work, share ideas, and drive innovation. These successful design strategies have seen the majority of staff preferring to work from the office three or more days per week.
“Underpinning the design is the desire for the Melbourne team to learn, connect and collaborate.”
Evodia Alaterou, Workplace Design Strategy Leader and Principal
As an example of both social and environmentally sustainable design, Computershare’s adaptive reuse fitout is designed to deliver uplifting, inspiring indoor spaces that quietly minimise energy consumption.
- Adaptive re-use of the existing mill structure that focuses on renewal while revealing and respecting heritage.
- Using Building Information Modelling (BIM) and mapping light conditions to floor plans as a power-saving touch that dramatically reduces the reliance on artificial lighting systems while boosting wellbeing.
- ‘Dematerialising’ the project and reducing the amount of fitout required by exposing as much of the existing wool mill and its features as possible.
- Taking a ‘loose-fit’ furniture-based approach that makes interior settings versatile and adaptable, mirroring the dynamic future of this fin-tech company.
- Selecting low carbon, renewable and recycled choices to inform the material palette with ply, cork, rubber and ceramic selected as primary finishes.
- Specifying only locally designed and manufactured furniture from collaborators including Derlot Editions, Caon and Didier.