Photographer: Ian ten Seldam
When Collins Place in Melbourne was completed in 1981 it was a controversial addition to Melbourne’s cityscape. This was the first Australian project for world-renowned New York architecture firm, IM Pei and Associates. It was controversial for its time, a modern plan with a footprint of 1.3 hectares of office and shopping amenities located in the Paris end of Collins Street. Some 30 years on, it was time for an upgrade of the foyer and forecourt. SJB Architects was chosen to update the design with deference to the original.
Improved way-finding and pedestrian flow has ensured that Collins Place is now equipped for the needs of both the office workers that reside in the buildings and the pedestrian traffic that frequents the thoroughfares.
One of the most important areas to redefine was the lobby of 35 Collins Street and SJB has included a distinctive feature wall that includes bronze and silver-toned metal elements. The materials of the wall reflect light, which, in conjunction with the use of backlit surfaces, exponentially enhances the space’s presence. In doing so, the design, while sympathetic to the original, has been lifted to new heights.
First impressions are everything and, with the revitalisation of the foyer and forecourt of this iconic Melbourne building, SJB has rightly placed Collins Place back at the forefront of design.