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Jun 26, 2013

Smart Spaces – Aussie Style


Recently I had the opportuntity to visit Melbourne & Sydney and my eyes were opened on a number of fronts!  There are quite a few interesting spaces and places to look at, Sydney Opera House apart.
In Melbourne I had a look around the huge  Victoria Docklands regeneration area – it is now reaching maturity and fits neatly into the overall cityscape.  It’s amazing what has been achieved in a relatively short period of time given it only started in 2000, comprising  ~190 Hectares it is home to National Australia Bank and ANZ amongst others.
Moving closer to the Central Business District, I walked around the city’s other major regeneration area – Federation Square. There the style of architecture has been the subject of much debate – one either loves it or hates it!  For me, I  was more interested in how the place worked  It certainly offers a nice range of open air and indoor activities – it attracts upwards of 10 million visitors every year.  It was interesting to see how commercial activities such as offices and radio stations mixed in with galleries, performance areas, exhibitions and auditoria.   For me, architecture aside, it was the most engaging of places.
Fed square
Whilst in Melbourne, I attended a Worktech Conference which focuses on looking to the future of work and how it impacts space usage.   Compared to similar conferences in Europe it was interesting to note the number of HR/Change professionals that were in the audience.  During the following few days I learned that according to a 2012 survey by  Colliers 30% of the property market believes some form of agile working is on the horizon.  It seems that there are a lot of Australians looking at this area and they are very focused on finding out more about ” Activity Based Working
Moving on to  Sydney where I had the opportunity of fulfilling a lifetime ambition of spending time at Bondi beach -the key learning for me was the way Australians are making smart use of their offices by adopting Activity  Based Working.  I was taken aback by the fact that most of the country’s retail banking sector has gone down this route and it is now firmly part of the landscape.  One of the many examples of such is the impressive Commonwealth Bank HQ in Darling Quarter.
I had the opportunity to have a tour of the space and I found an open buzzing yet efficient working environment.  There was very little clutter, everyone was walking around not clutching papers, but laptops and there were lots of options for people to collaborate.
So all in all a very worthwhile visit.
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