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Foreground Architecture studio

Client Foreground Architecture
Status Completed 2022
Country Wurundjeri
Location Carlton, VIC
Five staff members and whippet dog relax, work and chat in office lounge space
Staff member seated at desk, others working in the distance. Warehouse office with exposed beams and brick.
Two staff sit at table in breakout meeting area next to bookshelf and office desks. Another women approaches.
Three men in the staff kitchen at the Foreground Architecture studio
Linework neon wall display in Foreground Architecture office, blurred people entering
Three staff members meet in break-out space alongside boardroom. Curtain divides the zones.
Three staff members in a meeting room sit at a table listening to another staff member present, using a video display.
Staff sit and stand at desks within Foreground office, exposed timber beams in warehouse style space.
Woman in black stands at printer in office utility room. Paper storage, guillotines in background. Orange vertical panelling and green feature walls
Man's silhouette crossing Foreground foyer neon tube light, desk in front
Status Completed 2022
Client Foreground Architecture
Country Wurundjeri
Location Carlton, VIC

On CBD-fringe Victoria Street, the former CUB Counting House in Carlton held significant heritage appeal, but its renovation would require persistence to convert the warehouse into an energy-efficient, user-centric workplace.

A 2021 staff survey and rebrand strategy workshops confirmed ESD and staff wellbeing were the high on the agenda. A meticulous fit-out has now given our company the best chance of achieving carbon-netrual operations by 2025.

With the fit-out occurring at the height of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, the team had limited access to the space for early measure-ups. A 3D Pointcloud scan circumnavigated this issue while offering precise dimensioning of the heritage shell’s irregular features.

The team sought to minimise waste and maximise energy performance through materials selection and installation. The cold shell comprised heritage-controlled brick and bluestone perimeter walls, plus concrete internal walls and a concrete and steel plate floor. These offer significant thermal mass, minimising heating and cooling costs. We specified acoustic-backed carpets and laid additional acoustic underlay to maximise thermal insulating properties and dampen noise. Carpets and rubber flooring were also selected for their full life-cycle waste management commitments.

Acoustic panels strategically line the fully-networked meeting rooms and open plan divisions, supporting collaborative work goals. To minimise construction waste and installation time, our team designed to full panel dimensions. A generous kitchen and lounge divide the main space, offering a diversity of options for temporary work set-ups and social gatherings.

Exposed, original roof trusses were cleaned, and any new steel components treated with an oxide paint to unify this key structural feature. Lighting integrates effortlessly, despite a 12m ceiling apex, with flat, frosted LED panels temperature-controlled, casting warm, even light across the space.

The friendly colour palette of the new Foreground brand identity features throughout, drawn from natural landscapes and supporting wellbeing principles. We worked diligently with our strong supplier networks to source quality, end-of-stock fabrics in these colourways, simultaneously tackling supply chain issues and minimising our carbon footprint. Natural light and ventilation are further features of the space, which has supported our biophilic aims in our expanding plant collection.

Photography: Blue Tree Studios