Barwon Water building brings national prize to Geelong

Geelong boasts Australia’s best example of commercial architecture, with Barwon Water’s head office in Ryrie Street taking out top honours at the National Architecture Awards.

The project won against 68 shortlisted projects drawn from 975 entries across the country.

The 5-star green star rated building also took out the National Award for Sustainable Architecture.

The building was praised for its sustainable credentials and innovative design, which retained the original bones of the existing 1970s office buildings and repurposed it into a modern and light-filled workplace.

The jury commented that Barwon Water’s vision to adapt the existing buildings made a “positive contribution to consolidation of the Geelong city centre”, and “sets an excellent precedent for re-using the aged, underperforming building stock located in regional centres throughout Australia.”

Designed by architects GHDWoodhead, the refurbished building echoes Barwon Water’s sustainable values, featuring solar panels, rainwater flushing toilet systems, and efficient heating cooling systems, including a façade designed for shading.

Consolidating Barwon Water’s Geelong-based employees under one roof improves efficiency and reduces electricity consumption by 70 per cent and gas consumption by 90 per cent.

A mechanical ventilation system provides additional savings, including a 100 per cent fresh air supply. The jury commented that this provides “a much healthier building that should encourage all public agencies to invest in assets over the long term and to use the best technologies available.”

Barwon Water Managing Director Tracey Slatter said she was thrilled the building had received this prestigious award that thrusts the Geelong city centre onto the national stage.

“The building not only provides a modern and efficient workspace for our employees, but also embodies our commitment to sustainability, thinking outside the square and contributing to the revitalisation of Geelong,” Ms Slatter said.

“We’re delighted that our decision to make the most out of the existing buildings and incorporate innovative design elements has been recognised as the best among some of the most impressive buildings in the country,” she said.

“The upgrade, which transformed the building from a 0.5 green star equivalent to a 5-star green star helps us live our sustainable values and is an example of the positive outcomes that can be achieved through building redesign and refurbishment.”

Image: Trevor Mein 2017