Melbourne has some fine corporate buildings. A number are not open to
the public. but some buildings have incorporated public access into their
design as part of the corporate image presented both to the public and their
employees. Our current favourite is ANZ headquarters in
This is the largest single tenant office block in Australia and together
with the nearby Myer and NAB headquarters plus Channel 9 it has moved the
corporate centre of gravity to the bottom end of Collins Street.
It is one of the greenest buildings in Australia with wind turbines,
green roofs, solar collectors etc. When you enter you find yourself in a
large atrium with numbers of coffee shops and restaurants plus couches and
low tables suited to eating, informal meetings, reading the paper or using
your laptop while work continues above your head in the transparent office
The whole area is relatively free of traffic as a large proportion of the
workers commute by tram, train, bike or just plain walking. In fact watching
the employees walk to and from Southern Cross Station makes an interesting
contrast with John Brackï¿½s
famous painting Collins St 5pm. In that painting a crowd of
grim-faced grey office workers troops past the Bank of New South Wales.
John Brack Australia
Collins St, 5p.m. 1955 oil on canvas 114.8 x 162.8 cm
of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased, 1956. Â© National Gallery of
White Hat has obtained the appropriate permission from the National Gallery of Victoria
to reproduce this image
Their modern day equivalents finding themselves in open parkland
instinctively increase their personal space. However, as is often the case
with crowds, most unwittingly adopt the pace and speed of the group. It was
this tendency that led the Australian designers of Londonï¿½s Millennium
Bridge into some unexpected dramas.
The relative lack of car traffic renders makes for pleasant surroundings.
At one end of the building is
Docklands Park with
barbecues, playgrounds and plenty of grass for lying in the sun while at the
other end is a small park area overlooking the river and suitable for eating
a sandwich or reading a book. However the main frontage looks out across the
Yarra River and I feel that the ANZ Building makes better use of its
riverfront location than just about any other building in Melbourne. If you
want a view or photograph from the other side of the river, walk across the
fishtrap bridge to Yarraï¿½sï¿½ Edge from where you can see the whole building
with boats in the foreground. For an uninterrupted view walk further
downstream to the last pontoon in the marina which will take you out to the
middle of the river. The building has already numbers of design awards
including prestigious International ones.
Next time you are in the city and looking for a quiet break why not take
a Victoria Harbour tram down Collins Street and look out for the big ANZ
has it was designed by Lenny The Pen). Have a wander through and see
what you think. It is only open during business hours on weekdays and not at
all on the weekend. Remember this is not a jeans and tee shirt environment
so pay your hosts the courtesy of dressing appropriately before wandering
through their living room.