A million reasons why Barwon Water HQ wins national award

2018 National Architecture Awards: Judges said the Barwon Water headquarters sets an excellent precedent for re-using aged, underperforming building stock located in regional centres. Picture: Trevor Mein

There’s a million reasons why Barwon Water’s revamped Ryrie St headquarters won national awards for architecture.

That’s the estimated weight in kilograms of carbon emissions saved by reusing the concrete and steel structure of the 1977 buildings compared to using new materials.

Architects GHDWoodhead won the Harry Seidler Award for Commercial Architecture and a national award for sustainable architecture at the national awards last week.

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The drive for low embodied energy also created more intimate office spaces connected by the central atrium than the super-sized floor plates of modern office buildings.

Barwon water

The Barwon Water head office.

The vision made a positive contribution to the consolidation of central Geelong, the jury said.

The building features solar panels, rainwater flushing toilet systems and efficient heating-cooling systems, including a facade designed for shading.

Consolidating the authority’s Geelong office workers under one roof cut electricity consumption by 70% and gas consumption by 90%, while a mechanical ventilation system delivers 100% fresh air supply, providing a much healthier building which the jury said should encourage public agencies to invest in assets using the best technologies available.

Barwon water office

The central atrium connects the older and new buildings in Barwon Water’s Ryrie St headquarters. Picture: Trevor Mein.

Barwon Water managing director Tracey Slatter says she is thrilled the award has thrust Geelong onto the national stage.

“The building not only provides a modern and efficient workspace for our employees, but also embodies our commitment to sustainability, thinking outside the square and contributing to the revitalisation of Geelong,” Slatter says.

Barwon Water

The rebuild also created new public space, including a connection between Ryrie St and Lt Malop St. Picture: Trevor Mein.

“The upgrade, which transformed the building from a 0.5 green star equivalent to a 5-star green star helps us live our sustainable values and is an example of the positive outcomes that can be achieved through building redesign and refurbishment.”

This article from the Geelong Advertiser originally appeared as “Saving old buildings wins national kudos for Barwon Water HQ vision”.