This mixed use commercial building was the first project for Marvel Realtors. It was on an old factory site in the central business district and the brief was to attract a different clientele to those in the call centre environment on the outskirts of the city. It was to accommodate a large number of small office tenancies of 250 square metres and above. HB Design coined the term the ‘condominiumisation of an office building’, one which offered a wide variety of amenities that small offices don’t normally enjoy. Through a series of workshops with the client an extended brief was developed leading to the inclusion into the brief of garden terraces, shops, restaurants, business centre, gym, spa and a boutique hotel. This approach to the modern workplace also reflected a more mobile workspace with a range of both formal and informal areas, acknowledging that contemporary digital communication enables people to work away from their desk.

The form needed to clearly communicate this difference in approach. It aimed to depart from the straight lines and boxes of its context, becoming a 240 metre-long, 40 metre-high curvilinear shape – a modern groundscraper. Taking advantage of a lot of existing trees, a public park was created at the back as part of a strategy to make the ground plane part of the public realm. Cuts through the building on the ground floor allow the public to pass through the building to the park at the rear evoking the iconic ‘Hyde Park lines’. Two naturally ventilated galleries bifurcate the building, providing secure entry for the tenants and connecting with the building’s eight cores, each servicing half of one wing and so helping to create a more intimate scale.

The intention was to create a boutique feel and to build in flexibility. The top floor was only half occupied, the other half being an eco-deck given over to terraces, extensive greening and pools. A requirement for refuge terraces was turned into an opportunity by transforming them into sky boxes, double-height and triple-height, with plantings, creating an amenity for every wing.

The building has a three-layered façade consisting of a double-glazed curtain wall, private terraces and sunscreening.

As a hybrid building, Edge contributes to a richer urban context, especially in the way it engages on the ground plane with the public domain. The terraces humanise the building, while also forming part of a strategy to provide a more flexible workplace, one which goes beyond the traditional enclosed office.