New Heights, New Design
20 Currie Street
A CBD property owner with a rare sense of adventure gave Tectvs the opportunity to push the design envelope.
The brief was to design the tallest office building permissible in the central City and give it a presence and form unlike anything that had gone before. It challenged Tectvs to think outside the safe ‘glass box’ and design a building that made both creative waves and economic sense. The only constraint was the height restriction on CBD development through its proximity to Adelaide Airport and flight approaches, meaning the structure could not go as high as Adelaide’s tallest building, 31-storey Westpac House.
Tectvs presented the building at the 2014 Festival of Architecture and Design (FAD) as part of the UnBuilt Adelaide - a competition to find the most inspired unbuilt projects and propositions for Greater Adelaide
Tectvs conceived of the building as a beacon for the city. The design would make no reference to its built surroundings. It would stand alone as a radical and dramatic structure with its form and materials shimmering in the light of day and lit like a torch at night. The contribution to ‘place’ would be two-fold: site-related and city-related.
It would be a sculptural presence in the CBD and from the elevated outskirts of North Adelaide and the foothills; a skyline symbol of an Adelaide looking to the future rather than the past. The design intent was translated into a $100-million futuristic glass structure of 31 storeys, defined and dominated by a cantilevered glass façade starting at level 12 and curving up and out to the full height of the building overlooking Currie St.
Whilst the building was ultimately never realised, it was (humorously) featured as the Adelaide panorama backdrop during broadcasts of ABC News for 3 years
At 123m tall it bowed only to the 137m of Westpac House but topped it in terms of lettable area. Its 31,000 square meters of office space providing accommodation for 3000 personnel who would travel to their offices in glass elevators visible from the outside and have access to pool and gymnasium facilities. Public amenities included a restaurant on the top floor and cafes at entry level. To achieve a 5-star Australian Building Greenhouse Rating the building’s environmental design features included having 70 per cent of the built form behind the glass facade to minimise the sun load and reduce energy costs; vertical louvres were fixed to the western and eastern facades for the same reason. Other considerations included recycling 70 per cent of collected rainwater to flush toilets, using matt-finished double-glazing for thermal control and glare reduction, specifying low-energy light fittings, and, to encourage environmentally friendly means of getting to and from work, providing 120 secure bicycle parks and shower facilities at ground level.
Despite having been given planning and development approval, when the global financial crisis deepened, the project was put on hold indefinitely.