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Probuild and ISPT Break Ground on Australian Unity's new Spring Street HQ

Late last week head contractor Probuild officially broke ground on ISPT's 271 Spring Street, a $150 million mixed-use tower in Melbourne’s CBD. The 16-storey building has been designed by John Wardle Architects (JWA) and will become the new headquarters for national health, wealth and living company Australian Unity, which has agreed to a 15-year term over the entire 15,600 sqm.

The development at 271 Spring Street completes ISPT and JWA's original vision for the Urban Workshop at 50 Lonsdale Street, which included a major new commercial office building and retail precinct "set around the historic buildings and street patterns of the area once known as the Little Lon district."

The new office building incorporates a brick podium that is partly original and partly reimagined around historic elements including the Elms Hotel and the Mission Building. Overall, a streetscape of two storey brickwork makes for a scale and material appearance consistent with its neighbours along Little Lonsdale Street.

It is not overtly grand, but rather scaled for people and aims to create an engaging relationship with the passerby.

Separate from the brick podium is the office tower proper, its curtain walls incorporating sun shading to improve thermal performance. Expanding this texture further, the patterns of historic roofs hidden from view are writ large upon the inclined glass face of the tower above.

A new geometry for sun blades is drawn from the old roof patterns.

John Wardle Architects
271 Spring Street, view of streetscape. Image: John Wardle Architects

The breaking ground ceremony was preceded by a 'Welcome to Country' ceremony performed by Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Colin Hunter Jr. In attendance were representatives from ISPT, RCP, Probuild, JWA and Australian Unity, including ISPT CEO Daryl Browning, RCP Director Greg Naylor, Probuild's Victorian Managing Director Luke Stambolis and JWA Principal Bill Krotiris.

271 Spring Street is due for completion in mid 2019.

We are excited to be breaking ground at 271 Spring Street, alongside ISPT and Australian Unity. The level of collaboration seen on this project from all parties has been impressive.

We’re working to retain complicated heritage facades and fabrics, a complex task Probuild teams are well-equipped to manage. We’ll be facing challenges undertaking construction directly above the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop Tunnels, but we’re used to operating and delivering in live environments.

Luke Stambolis, Victorian Managing Director, Probuild
271 Spring Street Hero Perspective. Image: John Wardle Architects
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