Holistic eco-urban commercial design fosters culture, community and collaboration. The exciting new nine-storey Craftworks project, designed by CHT Architects, promises to create its own “creative ecosystem” in which commercial tenants and the community come together to share ideas, communal spaces and a holistic philosophy that fosters true community, culture, wellbeing and sustainability.

Project Name: Craftworks
Studio Name: CHT Architects
Completion date:
2021
Building levels: 9
Location: Abbotsford, Australia
Photography: Binyan Studios

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Terrace Cafe Space ©Binyan Studios

Located in post-industrial Abbotsford at the doorstep of the Melbourne CBD – and due for completion in 2022 – Craftworks is a new kind of office building designed for innovative businesses who understand that culture, amenity, convenience and lifestyle are becoming increasingly strong drawcards for attracting the best staff.

Key features of Craftworks include:
• Almost 10,000 square metres of office spaces
• Exhibition space
• 110-seat theatre
• Creative hub,
• Ground-level café
• Wellness centre
• Abundant use of glass on all four sides to allow in maximum daylight, and
• A leafy indoor/outdoor rooftop terrace bar and lounge.

CHT Architects Founder and Director, David Carabott, said Craftworks is an office building that has been designed to “maximise human potential”.
“We’ve designed the building to provide multiple layers of experience,” David said.

“This will appeal to businesses looking to attract the best-quality staff and offer a dynamic environment in which their staff can excel. “It has a wide variety of spaces, so if you want to work in the ground-floor café space, or you want to have a client meeting in the rooftop bar, you can.

“The building’s state-of-the-art wellness centre provides direct access to the Yarra trail – for runs and bike rides – fostering further opportunities for occupants to enhance their health and wellbeing. “We’ve really focused on end-of-journey facilities to encourage human and planetary health, such as including showers and 140 bike racks, so people can enjoy a scenic and eco-friendly riverside ride to work, and then shower and store their bike safely for the day.”

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Front View ©Binyan Studios

Up there for thinking – David said that the key design philosophy behind Craftworks was inspired by the Bauhaus movement, to support and encourage collaborative thinking. “Craftworks is designed to be a collective, with opportunities to interconnect and network on every level via a thoughtfully arranged internal design that maximises natural light and visual connectivity,” he said.

“It will become an ecosystem of its own in which tenants share ideas, inspiration and momentum.” Mark Spraggon, a Director of CHT Architects working closely on the project, said that Craftworks is set to become an iconic building in Abbotsford.

“While the design is distinctive and iconic, it is equally one that will seamlessly stitch into the industrial heritage of the area,” Mark said. Creating community – Mark explained that this connection to the local area continues with features designed to attract, inspire and engage people from the nearby community.

“This is a building that engages with the community and has a 24/7 lifespan,” Mark said. “In a principle that aligns with the permaculture philosophy of distributing and using excess, Craftworks will make its communal facilities available for use by others when they’re not being used by the commercial occupants.

“So, for example, the building’s gallery area will be available for displaying creations from local artisans, while the 110-seat theatre, rooftop terrace, lounge bar and meeting spaces can all be used by local community groups, especially after hours.

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Ground Floor Cafe Space ©Binyan Studios

“Elements such as the ground-floor café, theatre and the foyer’s gallery exhibition space will also attract people into the building after hours and on weekends, making this a building that has a meaningful connection to its location and makes a genuine contribution to the community in which it resides.

“And all of these things are interconnected to create a vibrant streetscape.” Urban permaculture – The holistic nature and “community connectedness” of Craftworks continues with a “closed-loop” approach to sustainability, inspired by David Carabott’s passion for permaculture farming.

This includes the use of sustainable materials and energy attributes such as solar panelling and biophilic elements, as well as a genuine “farm-style ecosystem” that includes a rooftop orchard and veggie garden, chickens, café-food-scrap recycling/composting and even beehives!

“I love the idea of tenants tending to the rooftop chooks and gardens, creating food such as fruit, vegetables and eggs for the ground-floor café and local residents,” David said. “For tenants, this will bring a meaningful human connection to nature and the building that is often missing in the corporate work environment.

“We already do many of these things in our Collingwood office, but we wanted to scale it up in this building – giving strong consideration to place-making and community connection, as well as the physical and mental wellbeing of everyone who interacts with the building.”

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