Touring Medibank Place the new home of Australia’s leading health insurer left me more than stunned! One cannot help but be taken by the architecture, the natural daylighting and the vibrancy of the colour scheme. However, this is not just a glitzy interior design as there is much more to learn when you take a closer look. My immediate response was similar to the way I felt when I first visited Holland’s Interpolis building in Tilburg over a decade ago. Medibank Place is truly a remarkable example of a building that, like Interpolis, will be regarded as a benchmark for fresh thinking about how we consume real estate. I observed that the end result is one which aligns with the business needs of its customers, is non conformist in terms of traditional office design and makes a real statement to all who visit.
Make no mistake the building itself may not be everyone’s cup of tea but on the evidence I came across it is fit for purpose in Medibanks’ eyes. In the two years since they moved in, it seems to have been a big hit with their workforce – some 66% of them say they are more productive in their new home. I was struck by their feedback such as; – ‘I can’t help but be inspired when I walk into the building”
Like all the places I visited the Medibank story is just too big to fit on a postcard. It was not only a relocation but a major cultural transformation plus an innovative real estate design partnership between Medibank, Hassell and building owners Cbus Property. The brief was according to Hassell’s Steve Coster “to create a building that could help Medibank to thrive not just to exist” the end result is off—the-wall for many with a traditional perspective but embodies lots of facets which we all aspire to such as;-
a living healthy building
lots of space for quiet and reflective work
easy to navigate floor plates
What struck me most was the fact that Medibank recognised that office work has changed and have taken that on board as they seek to improve and encourage productivity. Walking around the highly colourful, airy, green and vibrant space I could see how the 26,000m² embodies the aims of workplace well-being. For example, there is a big emphasis on the importance of healthy cooking and eating. Staff have access to vegetable gardens plus a kitchen to cook the fruits of their labour. It is also interesting that these kitchens along with communal open space are part of Medibank’s community engagement program. This enables the company to use the space to engage with the public.
I came away in awe of this amazing space not because of the design but it is a true if not non-conformist demonstration of the way a building can fully support an organisation’s purpose which in Medibank’s case is – For Better Health. Something which is far more important than rent per square metre?