Coca Cola Place, formerly known as The Ark, is a 21 level, commercial office building, located at 16-40 Mount Street in North Sydney. Completed in 2010, Coca Cola Place is an addition to a growing list of Sydney buildings that has a 6 Star, Green Star (Office as Built - V2) rating, the highest rating achievable in Australia, under the Green Building Council of Australia's measurement standards for sustainable building.
The development undertaken by and owned by Investa Property Group, occurred as a result of a proposal put forward by the Australian architectural practice Rice Daubney. Coca Cola Place is exemplary of how the cooperative efforts of architects, their clients and contractors can create a commercially viable building that is also environmentally responsible.
On Wednesday 23 November participants in the Australian Architecture Association's sixth Short Black Architects in Their Space talk series, were able to experience some of the key spaces within the building, while the architect and development manager discussed aspects of it's design and construction.
Paul Reidy, Principal and Design Director of Rice Daubney and Mark Tait, Senior Development Manager at Investa Property Group, explained in detail, how the building design developed conceptually, the design challenges posed in getting approvals for a development with heritage issues and the practicalities of the construction process.
After listening to Paul Reidy and Mark Tait it was clear that they were passionate about creating and building projects that embrace green technologies and design practices.
Coca Cola Place utilises several systems for achieving it's sustainable credentials. Passive design systems have been used, such as orientating inhabited spaces to maximise natural daylight and views, and screening the western elevation to reduce thermal gain. These work in conjunction with active systems, such as energy efficient lighting, water efficient fittings and the collection of rain water for the buildings air conditioning cooling tower, along with the treatment and recycling of grey water, for use in toilets and for irrigation of adjoining green spaces.
Attendees were also able to see the tri-generation system installed in the basement of Coca Cola Place. Mart Tait, with his engineering background, explained how the system utilised a combined heat and power unit, with an absorption chiller, to generate all the building's electrical, heating and cooling needs year round, with excess power generated, sent into the cities electrical grid.
Aside from designing the building for the comfort of it's occupants, the building also incorporates elements for the soul. At the entrance to Coca Cola Place a giant painting (12m x 16m) has been applied to the underside of the building overhang. Installed under the direction of it's creator, Aboriginal artist Freddie Timms, the work depicts Lissadell station, where Timms spent much of his early life growing up and working as a stockman.
Encased beside the Mount Street façade, is a sculpture by Hany Armanious and Mary Teague, called ‘Lines of Communication'. A sinuous tangle of cabling constructed out of wiring that was retained from the demolition of the telephone switch exchange that was formerly on the site.
Further recycled elements have been incorporated artistically. The foyer and lift lobbies, reuse signage from the original demolished building. Of particular note, is a random arrangement of signage lettering above the foyer reception desk, designed by one of Rice Daubney's project architects.
For both public artwork and architectural enthusiasts, Coca Cola Place is building well worth visiting. The Australian Architecture Association would like to thank both Paul Reidy and Mark Tait for taking the time to share their experiences working on the building.
- Article and Photos by Vanessa Couzens