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Charles Darwin Uni’s recycled trades hall wins award

Aug 10, 2017
  • Article by Charles Darwin University

When Charles Darwin University’s office of information technology management and support (ITMS) moved into an old trades building on the Casuarina campus in Darwin, the staff were presented with an opportunity to re-engineer not only their work location but also their corporate culture.

The re-imagined space won the George Chaloupka Award for Interior Architecture, presented at July’s Australian Institute of Architects 2017 Northern Territory Architecture Awards in Darwin.

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The ‘Stargate’ portal between the entrance and inner sanctum.

Charles Darwin University’s chief information officer and director Pat Gould had a challenge ahead of him: to move his team of almost 60 into an 880 square metre ‘big shed’, build a productive work-space and respond to the disruptive changes within the IT industry.

“We needed to move away from the traditional view of IT workers and become business analysts who were client-focused. I wasn’t looking just at four walls and a roof, I was looking at reinventing the IT group,” Pat said.

“We needed to analyse the type of outcomes we wanted to achieve and how the built environment was going to help facilitate that.”

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Breakout spaces for comfortable collision.

While the final outcome is a remarkable and inspirational work environment, Pat said the process involved staff having to challenge the fundamental approach to their work in order for a space to be designed to suit their needs.

The Charles Darwin Uni’s ITMS team worked with Libby Sander, founder and director of the Future of Work Project and an expert in workplace strategy and design – an approach that sees the design of place from a human-centred perspective starting with the end user in mind.

Chill-out spaces – food for thought.
Chill-out spaces – food for thought.

Libby’s brief was to create a workplace that would support individual differences and a range of job roles. The office wanted to increase interaction and communication between teams, as well as increase performance across the whole division.

“Our goal was to create a workplace where people felt physically and psychologically comfortable, allowing them to perform at their best,” Libby said.

Lead image: An organic entranceway to a high-tech world. Photography by Glenn Campbell.

Looking for more workplace inspiration? Have a look at this previous DesignWall.

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