Charter Hall Perth

CODA worked with Australia’s largest property group, Charter Hall, to design a new workspace for their growing Perth-based team. An identifiable style had been established amongst the organisation’s eastern state’s offices for activity-based working environments using a sophisticated palette of natural materials and light. CODA were keen to continue this standard in the Perth workspace, but at the same time reflect Charter Hall’s new West Australian location through colour and material choice.

The new workspace is set over a single floor of an established building in the heart of Perth’s CBD. In keeping with the desire for a dynamic and active work space, CODA devised a series of spaces that allow for either collaborative work, individual work or private meetings. Staff have a degree of independence over their working environment through desks that raise and lower according to need.

A social space runs along the window edge, playfully referred to as ‘the deck’, bringing an informal, almost domestic quality to this aspect of the office. Here staff can comfortably eat their lunch, socialise and even work if they choose. A sense of autonomy is prevalent throughout the entirety of this project.

A distinctly West Australian colour palette imbeds this project firmly in its context. Textured natural wood finishes and smooth, golden cabinetry is punctured by shades of sea blue and earthy red tones. Renowned furniture designer, Nathan Day, was commissioned to make an entry desk out of local timbers. Contemporary wall graphics further reinforce Charter Hall’s signature branding, whilst hanging pots and ample plant-life provide a playful and softening insertion into the space.

Claisebrook Design Community

CODA transformed an existing saw tooth warehouse and nondescript double-storey office into a functional and flexible space for co-working and entrepreneurship. Located in a curious quarter of East Perth, marked by a mix of turn of the century terraces houses and light industry, this project cements the area’s reputation as an urban village by engaging directly with the community through the café on the street.

CODA’s approach to the design was to introduce a series of intertwining uses that together create a connected hub of activity. At the front of the building sits a co-office space comprised of separate offices and a boardroom. Within the larger warehouse space playful working pods create areas for individual work. An open event space, defined by a circular red carpet and dramatic light scoop, and a cafe link these spaces to the broader community creating a dynamic and porous interface.

Aesthetically, the design draws inspiration from the artwork of Jeffrey Smart and his celebration of the gritty interface between freeways, transport and human existence. Industrial materials have been overlaid with strong primary-coloured graphics; exposed timber frames have been paired with cyclone mesh fencing and warehouse shelving.

The building has been reimagined as a contemporary warehouse – designed for the production of ideas.

MG/GT Administration Building

The MG/GT community facility and administration building in Kununurra is shared by the Miriuwung Gajerrong Corporation and the Gelganyem Trust, two traditional land owner groups in the eastern Kimberley. The two-level building is used by the staff of both organisations and by the community that they serve.

A requirement of the clients was to ensure that the building created a welcoming presence and was open both to the environment and community. We engaged in an extensive process of stakeholder engagement and invited elders from both communities to develop the schematic design and approve the final design, ensuring a truly inclusive and supported outcome.

An important first move was to place the offices upstairs, creating a shaded public space on the ground floor for people to gather informally or meet with the officers of the organisations. Upstairs the internal finishes have been selected with an eye to the desire for a less corporate space and to continue the dialogue of an inviting environment.

From the street, a ‘green screen’ constructed from vertically aligned painted steel angles provides cohesiveness to the two volumes of the building. During the day this screen creates a shaded, non air-conditioned space to be used for meetings outside of the offices; at night, the screen glows like a beacon providing a striking silhouette visible in the town.

The building’s materials and finish are necessarily tough. To enable the building to better cope with Kununurra’s climate, and the heavy user wear that it will receive, steel and fibre cement is used extensively as an external cladding. These robust materials are continually tempered by the use of colour throughout the project.

This project received an Architecture Award in the Commercial Category of the 2013 AIA Awards.

Women’s Health and Family Services

Women’s Health and Family Services is a not-for-profit organisation providing medical and clinical services, counseling, information, community talks and workshops, referral and outreach to women in Western Australia. WHFS was the first women’s health centre established in WA and has been providing health care to women for over thirty years.

After years of fundraising and bureaucratic hurdles, CODA were engaged as architects to realise a new facility on land seeded to the organisation by the East Perth Redevelopment Authority. The site provided many challenges from the outset: 2 Queen Anne cottages, a heritage warehouse and an electrical substation on a corner block of 887sqm. These restrictions demanded careful planning and a deep understanding of the range of services offered by the organisation to exploit overlaps and minimise the amount of underutilised spaces.

Externally the building uses a subdued palette of familiar and domestic materials. Alongside its existing heritage fabric, face brickwork, steel and recycled timber embue this building with a domestic, approachable quality. Colour is the critical binding element throughout the project interior. It works to unite 3 previously separate buildings and provides the diverse groups that it services with ease of movement throughout the building. The colour palette is light, bright and cheerful, particularly when combined with the warmth of the exposed natural materials. It is unlike an expected clinical environment of a medical and counseling centre, and instead is a space that presents as inclusive and uplifting.

In 2011, the project successfully achieved a 4 Star Green Star rating and in July 2012 it received a Commercial Architecture Award at the Australian Institute of Architecture Awards (WA Chapter).

Pam Buchanan Family Centre

This project was won through invited tender in October 2009 when CODA was selected by the Karratha K2020 panel to provide architectural services for a new family centre at Baynton West. The Pam Buchanan Family Centre was commissioned in response to the change in focus of mining companies and government towards the creation of permanent communities in mining towns of the North-West.

Built in a category D cyclone zone, the building responds to the dramatic shifts in weather conditions from intense heat to torrential rain and the very real possibility of cyclones. These extreme climatic conditions mean that people largely move around by car, rely heavily on air-conditioning and minimise daytime outdoor activity.

The various elements of the building are ringed via a continuous roof creating deep, covered outdoor play spaces and a sheltered interior courtyard. The courtyard is activated through the passage of pedestrians from one function to another. The material palette was selected based on environment, cyclonic rating and the capacity to be easily constructed on site and within budget. The Colorbond external skin of the building provides a dramatic backdrop for the feature cut outs and courtyard interior.

Colour brings light and surprise to the exterior of the building and works to build a lush constructed interior to the central courtyard.  From the street the painted roof cut outs whimsically signal points of entry and activity.  Within the protected courtyard space luscious greens cool and enliven, creating a complete visual break from the striking red pindan of the surrounding environment.

We believe the key move toward a sustainable environment is creating a building that will encourage families to live in Karratha. This project demonstrates that it is possible to enjoy life outside, away from air conditioning, through the creation of large, protected and ventilated outdoor spaces.  Within these spaces families play, talk and connect with their community.

The Pam Buchanan Family Centre received a commendation in the Public Architecture category of the 2012 AIA Awards (WA).

Fremantle Arts Centre Reception Area

The Fremantle Art Centre, City Of Fremantle (FAC) is located in the heritage listed Lunatic Asylum built in 1864. The departure of the Immigration Museum from the site freed up several spaces for the FAC and opened up opportunities to reimagine its visitor experience.

The original brief called for the design of a reception desk within a newly acquired room at the heart of the building. We saw opportunities to expand on this to review and explore the potentials for the space in the context of the whole institution. This small project mediates between the heritage fabric of the building, the port side history of the place and the contemporary art programme and classes, welcoming everyone to the centre.

Through a simple, elegant and cost effective set of moves we were able to reposition the way in which visitors first experience the FAC, touching the building fabric with only a few small fixings.

From the outset we sought to offer a contemporary interpretation of the surrounding portside environment.

As a tiny project on a tiny budget, we needed to embrace and elevate the way the simple palette of formply, plywood, steel and acrylic could work together as interior finishes.

The massive cylindrical form of the reception desk runs parallel to the length of the space, contrasting with the linearity of the existing envelope. The new display plinths have been fabricated from DD-grade ply and are set on moveable castors. The natural grain of the ply is reprinted on the plinths in a “larger than life” playful nod to the material. They have been developed with an interlocking system that allows the space to be refreshed and adapted according to the needs of the centre.

The subtle shifts in spatial use within a single room have been arranged through careful planning.  Through consultation with the client we extended the brief for a reception desk to include the relocation of the bookshop.  We felt that this simple move would assist in furnishing the space, making it feel inhabited and would also have the benefit of increasing book sales and revenue.

The desk, bookshelves and plinths have been fabricated from a robust palette of recyclable natural materials, again referencing the port city.  Most elements of the project require minimal fixing and are able to be removed without damage to the existing building fabric.

Contrasting this are highly coloured, glossy acrylic elements that act much like maritime signals and tie in with the recent re-branding of the FAC. These elements create a dynamic and changeable interior, acting as a backdrop to displays.

Great projects are only possible with great clients. We worked closely with the Director and Manager of the Centre to understand their needs and communicate our ideas.

The project was achieved within the $70,000 budget. Through careful selection of materials and simple fabrication methods we were able to exceed the client’s original desire for a desk and instead develop a scheme that addressed the entire space.

PMH Psychological Medicine Reception Area

In 2011, CODA were approached by the Psychological Medicine Department at Princess Margaret Hospital to improve their waiting space and shift it from the generic sofa and toddler toys that are typical of a hospital waiting space to something that engaged with the diversity of the users of the space.

The waiting area is constantly occupied and often requires children and adolescents to wait for up to an hour while their parent attends an appointment. Our initial brief development meetings with the client allowed us to experience firsthand the space and observe these users. The need for adolescents to have some independence from parents was immediately obvious.

The project had two major constraints that ultimately lead to the opportunities of the project.  Firstly the site area was extremely constrained and very little, if anything could be done to the fabric of the interior space. Secondly, the project had a total budget of $6000 including toys.

Through the removal of a single partition wall we were able to take over a small, disused space and create an L-shape to work within. The scheme itself inserts an object into the centre of this space, away from the walls, creating a continuous ribbon of activity that spans the range of ages of the client base whilst allowing for age appropriate levels of adult supervision.

Execution of this tiny project would not have been possible had it not been for the generosity and collaborative nature of the people who ultimately delivered it. Carpet and rubber were donated, ply was discounted and rooms were painted. The Subiaco Men in Sheds donated their time and over several weeks and in addition to the painting, tackled the complex geometries of the plywood modules and the necessity for on-site assembly.

This project reinforces the importance of architecture at every scale and the generosity of people to make a real difference through small, incremental improvements.

In July 2012, the PMH Psychological Medicine Reception Area received a Commendation in the Small Project category at the Australian Institute of Architects Awards (WA).

Perry Lakes Sales Office

CODA were engaged by Landcorp to design a transportable sales office for the Perry Lakes Housing Estate in Floreat. Responding to a prescribed brief, CODA was able to deliver an innovative outcome that fulfilled the client’s objectives in an attractive and timely manner.

The sales office has ‘touched the ground lightly’ through its use of environmentally responsible materials and construction techniques. The use of carbon-heavy steel was minimised through the engineering of a lighter, more efficient floor system. It’s envisaged that this floor system will be able to be incorporated into building practice across WA, reducing the need to transport large sections of steel vast distances.

The Perry Lakes Sales Office was recently awarded an HIA WA Greensmart Partnership Award.

Toyota Competition

The car first shaped the contemporary city through networks of roads and freeways, and is now shaping the world in relation to emission controls. Car engineering has led the development of technology that we now take for granted, and at the same time, contributed significantly to greenhouse gases.

CODA was one of four firms invited to present a design for new headquarters for Toyota WA. The building was to be situated in Kewdale, near Perth’s domestic airport, and needed to reflect Toyota’s universal commitment to Environmentally Sustainable Development.

Toyota recognises the impact of the vehicle on our fragile ecosystem and is an industry leader in the production of cleaner, greener cars. Their hybrid vehicles offer a driving experience without the environmental impact of traditional combustion engines. Implicit in the project brief was the requirement to resolve and articulate the tension between man, machine and nature.

CODA’s design for the Toyota WA Headquarters unites the act of driving and the infrastructure that makes it possible through the insertion of a cultivated garden. Building users are continuously engaged with both the mechanics of the building and the poetics of the internal garden.

The skin of the building tempers the environment through a series of passive and active systems and at the same time, delivers an iconic building form. The semi-transparent structure is lit at night by hundreds of aligned red and white LEDs, mimicking the blur of the lights of the cars whizzing by.

The base of the building is heavy, as if carved out of the landscape, concealing water and air-cooled labyrinths to assist in the natural ventilation of the building. The landscape surrounding the building is integrated into a WSUD proposal, reducing stormwater across a large hardstand site and the ‘heat island’ effect, which in turn will reduce the overall energy consumption of the building.

CODA has designed a project that is truly sustainable and innovative in its design, remarkable in appearance and complementary to the vision, values and aspirations of Toyota.

CODA Studio

Our new studio re-pitches the practice from “home office” to medium size  in the heart of Fremantle.

It was really important to us to maintain and enhance the warmth and familiarity of the previous studio space whilst creating a flexible, open, dynamic workspace using natural, non-traditional materials.

From the outset we established that all new insertions should be recyclable and removable at the end of the project life without damage to the building.

The project demonstrates that it’s possible to create a sophisticated professional workspace, moving away from highly manufactured materials toward a robust natural palette that seeks out texture, warmth and celebrates imperfection. This is not a token gesture but forms the logic for the entire fit out.

Basic construction materials are reframed expressing both their materiality and assembly. The new timber stair binds the two levels together, spatially and materially, with the open plan workspace upstairs and the lower level given over to social spaces for meeting and amenity.

New ply insertions are read against the backdrop of the existing warehouse. The stair edge thickens on the upper level to house the job files, maintaining views over and through the stairwell as you circulate about the upper level.

Colour plays an important and subtle role in binding together the elements of the new studio, contrasting and enhancing the warmth of the exposed materials.

We believe that contemporary workspaces should invite individual participation in the creation of the work environment. The studio creates a backdrop for these choices, allowing lighting levels and thermal comfort to be assessed individually. Though the sourcing of vintage furniture we were able to reduce the number of resources required to complete the project.

Plasterboard and laminate were not specified in the project; even the desks and storage were fabricated from ply and steel.

Additionally recycled elements such as the barn door, concrete cisterns and vintage furniture were incorporated into the design. This has the dual benefit of achieving a more sustainable project but also embedding a sense of history through their tactility and imperfection.

In 2012, this project received an Interior Architecture commendation at the AIA Awards and the Australian Interior Design Award for Best of State (WA) Commercial Design.