City of Newcastle Council

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Connecting tradition to a 21st Century workplace

The City of Newcastle was relocating approximately 420 staff from its two existing sites, into a new single site at 12 Stewart Avenue. With the premises under construction, CoN were seeking to relocate their staff, and transition to a hybrid Activity-Based Working model as the basis for its new workplace design. The opportunity to move to new premises provided CoN a once in a generation chance to create space to support a wider range of activities and integrate community and stakeholder interactions.

Incorp was initially engaged as the Principal Design Consultant. Due to acceleration of the programme, the client changed their delivery model and appointed a builder. Incorp, therefore, was also engaged as Project Superintendant to provide project management services to answer RFI’s, complete defects inspections and reports, as well as providing design services for additional works. Concurrently, Incorp also supported the physical transformation of the space with a culture-infused change management program to support the cultural transition, moving from legacy ways of working and thinking, to a space promoting greater flexibility, agility and collaboration.

The overarching concept of the Songlines project, as named by City of Newcastle Council, sought to reflect the connection between Precinct, Place and People, through interweaving the design throughout the space in various forms. This was based on the concept of Songlines – Indigenous groups, the Awabakal and Worimi people whom inhabited the Newcastle and Hunter region, used songlines to navigate vast distances and map oceans, waterholes, rivers, birds, animals, plants and hunting grounds.

Precinct: The 4 wards of Newcastle are a diverse region of Urban, coastal and wetland landscapes. The Design concept sought to reflect the regions throughout the design of the workplace, using emotive local imagery and colour to evoke a sense of place and context.

Place: Partnering with CDKS Architecture and PTW Architects, this project aimed to set a new benchmark for commercial office space in Newcastle. Through the creation of new public plazas, links to surrounding green spaces and a multi-level atrium, the development of the new space aimed to promote greater workplace connectivity and flexibility.

People: The activity-based workplace upgrade created an envelope from which the new workplace could grow. New amenities, design and services provided a solid foundation that contributes to overall wellness of the building’s occupants.

The project was split into 2 packages – Package 1 (Level 2-5) and Package 2 (Level 1 & 6).

Package 1 (Level 2-5) covered the design and development of typical staff floors. Each floor provided a consistent layout with a specific colour to distinguish it from other floors. It also included locker areas and staff tea point – CEO, Jeremy Bath, wanted to encourage staff to eat lunches in a communal area so the requirement for a communal staff kitchen on Level 6 was introduced to the project as part of Package 2. Package 2 included the Executive staff area, training/conference rooms and commercial kitchen. The scope expanded to include a new Staff Communal Kitchen inclusive of a new enclosure to the rooftop, designed and completed by CKDS (base building architects). Incorp then designed the workplace interiors, coordinating the design of the new roof enclosure and the landscape design to the rooftop area. Additionally, Package 2 also included Customer Service counter and staff, Digital Library, Green Room and Mobile Council Chambers.

Following the delivery of the CoN’s new space, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. “The feedback has been universally popular. It has been a little bit of a disruptive week… but it’s wonderful to hear how positively staff have embraced not just the new location, but the very different way staff are expected to work.”says CEO Jeremy Bath. This sentiment was echoed by CoN staff:“It’s easy to connect, you can see where people are and easily access them… It’s a simple thing, but it just makes your workday that little bit more seamless.”

See our news article for more details.



size: 4,500sqm location: Newcastle