Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Axle is situated at South Eveleigh which is located in Sydney, Australia. The size or area of the structure is about that of 42,000 square meters. It was built in 2019. The collaborators for the same are FJMT building architect, Davenport Campbell and 360-degree landscape,  respectively. The site was basically dedicated to the old locomotive workshops. It is divided by the railway lines. The northern precinct consists of a cultural area, and the southern precinct consists of what they call a ‘tech-city’. The premises consist of railway workshop sheds and nine new buildings.  

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Axle at South Eveleigh by Woods Bagot: A Forward-Thinking Workplace - Sheet1
Front elevation of the CBA Axle Building_©Mirvac

Planning and design of the structure 

The eight storeyed building was built by FJMT. Earlier, on this historic site, railroad workshops were conducted. Approximately, 4000 employees work there currently. The building material used in the interiors is timber, and the base is built of exposed concrete edge beams which give it a character of modern structures while conserving the originality . Enormous amounts of  biophilia can be experienced by users as various elements of the buildings together help create it. Indoor gardens, ample daylight coming into the structure and an umpty number of terraces on both levels – levels one and levels seven ensure that a good connection with nature is maintained. It is targeted to be a 6 star- green rated building and has a high NABERS tenancy energy rating as well. The Commonwealth Bank has now opened the first of two new buildings there – the 7-storey Axle campus, which is opposite Yerrabingin and the 3-storey community center which offers café and retail amenities on the ground floor, followed by community facilities ; including a childcare center. Above that, there is a rooftop garden with 2,000 edible and medicinal plants overseen by the local indigenous community.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Axle at South Eveleigh by Woods Bagot: A Forward-Thinking Workplace - Sheet2
Cafe space at the Ground floor_©Nicole England

Insight into the structure  

The central atrium ensures the best daylight to all parts of the floor plate. The North and South directions are combined by linking the in situ concrete bridges. These bridges create three individual atria, each having  their own unique character and geometry. Various forms are interlocked showcasing their dynamic embrace, opening and closing, with natural light which directly fills the workspaces below; creating great spatial complexity, diversity and a strong sense of identity. The similar composition continues into various details like that of the  foyers, the atriums, the bridges and meeting pod facades. The areas have a refined complement of warm natural materials. 

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Axle at South Eveleigh by Woods Bagot: A Forward-Thinking Workplace - Sheet3
View of central atrium_©Nicole England

Interiors of the structure 

The atrium acts as a viewing point for all the internal activities that are being conducted in the premises. It has collaborative spaces for the staff, which are designed keeping in mind their convenience. There are expressed timber room pods and recessed meeting rooms. The interiors are made up of themes based on waves which provide a sense of exploration and interaction. There are sufficient methods of circulation, such as different stair types and pathways. The periphery provides a layer of settings ; firstly the  ‘me settings’, then comes the ‘we settings’, then ‘us settings’ as one gets closer to the atrium. The complexity of the settings gets increased layer by layer.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Axle at South Eveleigh by Woods Bagot: A Forward-Thinking Workplace - Sheet4
Interiors of the structure_©Nicole England

Commonwealth Bank of Australia as a miniature city  

Since the technology used here is top-notch, it is conceived as a miniature tech- city. The bank consists of a mix of structured and personalized spaces. The meeting areas are café- style. There are multiple purpose rooms for a huge mass of people. There are secluded private booths as well to conduct important meetings and discussions. There are terraces to ensure there are coexisting interiors along with nature. The staff here are provided with the flexibility to work anywhere on the premises.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Axle at South Eveleigh by Woods Bagot: A Forward-Thinking Workplace - Sheet5
Cafe and breakout space in the office of CBA Axle building_©Nicole England

Commonwealth Bank of Australia as a workspace 

The bank as a workspace gives individuals the time and flexibility to inculcate creative thinking and working. A practical edge, along with their theoretical aspects, gives a direction to work efficiently. They are liberal to choose their own workspace. The bank is open for 24 hours on all seven days of the week. The overall aim is to create a well-being hub and relaxation pods instead of creating a chaotic environment. The ground level has club spaces which are similar to business lounges, along with tech-free retreat spaces. The campus is about making an authentic place to innovate, exchange ideas and interpret them. It forms a vibrant public network.Initiatives include a high-performance building envelope, hybrid AC systems, PV panels, stormwater recycling and rainwater harvesting, and substantial end-of-trip facilities.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Axle at South Eveleigh by Woods Bagot: A Forward-Thinking Workplace - Sheet6
Ground floor entry lobby of the CBA Axle Building_©Trevor Mein

Conclusion

Transparency  between inside and outside feeds a healthy mindset to the users. Fresh air flows through openable windows. The materials used are earthy, natural and they provide a  gesture of connection between the inside and the outside. The forms that are used are seamless and sinuous; the expression is organic in all terms. The exposed surfaces give a raaw, playful experience to the users. Minds are engaged, and people are energized.

The Boab adding to the diversity of multifunctional and social settings within the Club environment_©Nicole England

References:

  1. https://www.woodsbagot.com/projects/commonwealth-bank-of-australia-axle-at-south-eveleigh/
  2. https://www.frameweb.com/project/cba-axle-south-eveleigh
  3. https://www.indeawards.com/the-work-space-2020/cba-axle-south-eveleigh-3/
  4. https://www.indesignlive.com/projects/cba-the-woke-workplace
  5. https://fjmtstudio.com/projects/axle-south-eveleigh/
Author

A young architect, and a keen learner who would love to experiment with the intricacy of architecture as per changing environment and the functioning of the society, keeping in mind the sustainability factor and history of the respective place or building.

Write A Comment