William Square Redevelopment
Buchan Perth have recently received Development Approval for the refurbishment of 45 Francis Street, the ATO building in Northbridge.
The proposal, prepared for Warrington Property, will revitalise the existing building via a contemporary design approach for the streetscape facades, and re-activation of the ground floor tenancies, to allow for the creation of a new public space at the William/Francis Street corner.
The refurbishment project will coincide with the relaunch of the building as an office, retail and public precinct known as ‘William Square’.
The architectural vision for the aesthetic expression of the refurbished facades is inspired by the diverse cultural fabric and heritage of Northbridge.
The existing Loreto Tower will be removed, significantly enhancing the corner identity and improving visibility to release greater retail potential. This space will be protected from the elements by a striking glass canopy, some 8 metres above floor level. A second glass roof, mirroring that at William Square, will convert the previously barren forecourt on Francis Street into a habitable space for the enjoyment of the public. The minimal geometry of the new canopies seeks to offer a calming counter balance and a ‘connecting ribbon’ to the rich expression of the façade screens; their scale and volume bringing visual significance to establish William Square and the refurbished Forecourt as new major public gathering spaces.
The office foyer will be refitted with new quality finishes and furniture, and activated by adjoining food and beverage tenancies. The existing lightwell that currently stops at first floor level, will be extended to the lobby level to provide natural light into the ground level foyer to the newly introduced lobby planting.
New two storey perforated aluminium façade screens are proposed along the William Street and Francis Street elevations to improve the building presentation on this prominent corner, providing solar protection for the office spaces behind, whilst maintaining views. The screens will be lit at night to provide a dramatic backdrop to the lively Northbridge nightlife.
The geometric pattern of the Francis Street façade screens take inspiration from the area’s strong Greek cultural heritage, whilst the golden hues of the proposed William Street façade screens reference the impact of the gold boom era on the precinct.
The heavily tinted glass and precast concrete panels of the first two levels of existing building façade overlooking the forecourt will be replaced by contemporary clear floor to ceiling glazing to extend views to and from the internal spaces and the newly refurbished Forecourt.
The textural detailing of these new public spaces are laced by a raw and slightly gritty urban material palette of natural timber, concrete and stone, to fit within the contemporary Northbridge context, which is notably in contrast to the nearby more formal and corporate CBD location.
The redevelopment will create worthwhile urban spaces, a destination for public use and enjoyment, with a distinct character which engages with the evolving Northbridge.