Blackmores Campus Warriewood

By Greg Barnett

20 Jubilee Avenue, Warriewood NSW

By: Watermark Architecture & Interiors Pty Ltd, Blackmores

Blackmores Campus Warriewood, Marcus Clinton

How does the project respond to its context, contribute to the public domain for example street or neighbourhood?

The master planning and the siting and scale of the buildings results in a positive contribution to both streetscapes, Jubilee Avenue and Mona Vale Road. Despite the business park environment, the lush bush setting with generous setbacks, the sustainable nature of the building and the relaxed, sociable atmosphere created is entirely consistent with the lifestyle of the Pittwater area. The building is designed to produce 66% less carbon emissions than a standard office building, itself a significant contribution to the community.

The master plan restores the natural landscape and wetlands system of the site and the buildings themselves are low scale and sympathetic to their surroundings. Although the main entry to the site is from Jubilee Ave, the building makes an appropriate address to Mona Vale Road for this important route. The siting of the buildings maximises environmental performance as well as efficiency of production and distribution including truck and vehicle movements.

The entry conveys a clear message of health and sustainability, landscaped with indigenous species and natural wetlands that also serve as stormwater detention and run-off. The Central Courtyard provides a unique highly landscaped arrival point across the central water feature in the heart of the Campus.

What problems did you have to solve?

Cost barriers to adopting highly innovative sustainable initiatives were the greatest difficulties. As owner occupiers, Blackmores were able to take a long term view and the savings they were able to make over the life of building allowed them to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. Gaining approval for the use of blackwater recycling and sewer mining was also a difficulty and remains in progress.

What was the contribution of others, including engineers, landscape architects, artists, builders and other specialists to the outcome?

In addition to WMK Watermark’s innovative sustainaable initiatives, a team of consultants contributed to the success of the project. S2F provided specialist architectural design for the production and warehouse areas and Ray White Projects provided project management services. Other consultants include:

Mechanical:  AECOM
Electrical & Lighting: AECOM
Hydraulic: Northrop
Trigeneration Plant: Cogent Energy
Civil Engineering: Northrop
Structural: SCP Consulting Engineers
Landscape Master Plan: McGregor & Partners
Quantity Surveyor: Wilde & Woollard

How would you describe the value of design in relation to the cost of the project?

The design is intrinsic to the look, feel and sustainable initiatives and therefore its success. The average cost was $2200sqm across office, production and warehouse also incorporating fitout and external works. The building has been designed to reduce the use of mains/grid electricity and water leading to long term cost savings over the life of the building.

What are some important sustainability aspects of the project?

Significant sustainability initiatives have lead to the building being designed to be 55% free of air conditioning, 70% free of mains water and produce 66% less carbon emissions than a standard office building.

Designed to be 70% free of mains water. Future sewer mining and blackwater treatment are designed to make the building 95% independent of mains water. Initiatives include:

Reinstatement of the natural creek system
Rainwater harvesting & storage (treated to potable standard)
Use of ponds for pre-cooling office air
Water efficient bathroom fittings.

Designed for 55% of all days to be air conditioning free and 100% fresh air is achieved for significant portions of the year. Initiatives include:

Pre-cool outside air through the use of external water features and an underground labyrinth, then drawn through the building. 
Thermal stack draws air through the under floor distribution system.
Air handling plant with economizer cycle

T5 lights, automated lighting control systems
Variable daylight cyclical lighting

Gas fired tri-generation electricity, hot water and cooling

Internal Air Quality

Carbon neutral carpet tiles
Low VOC paints
Natural and untreated surfaces.

What do you consider to be the benefits of the project for the client, users and the community?

A leading producer of natural health products, Blackmores’ was committed to creating an expression of health and wellness. Watermark’s approach maintained a sensitive balance between the building, the environment and a nurturing to the well being of both staff and the broader community. The result not only meets the ongoing operational requirements of Blackmores, but also reflects their brand, company ethos and culture in a highly sustainable and healthy environment.

The building is designed to encourage interaction between staff, and co-locates the head office and production and distribution staff together for the first time. An internal “street” runs through the two office wings and a central “hub” containing a staff “wellness centre”, including café, treatment rooms, a lap pool, retail outlet and gym. The “street” runs through to a viewing platform to the production and distribution functions, visually linking the two aspects of the business. The café is the single breakout space of the building, encouraging communication across the business groups.

Blackmores’ commitment to build a facility that reflects the long term needs of their business and supports and nurtures their staff will create on-going social and economic sustainability for both Blackmores and the surrounding community.

Other general comments

Blackmores Campus is an award winning project, having won the following awards:
The Australian Institute of Architects / Sustainable Architecture Award / June 2010
Urban Taskforce / Development Excellence for Industrial Development / July 2010
Property Council of Australia / Innovation & Excellence Award (Finalist) / June 2010
Viridian Glass / Innovation Award / April 2010
Building Product News / Sustainability Award / October 2009
Pittwater Council / Sustainability Award / October 2009