Raising the roof on new Geelong council headquarters

Civic Precinct - Topping out

Quintessential Equity executive chairman Shane Quinn, left, and chief executive Russell Bullen with Wadawurrung Elder Mary Shuttleworth and Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher celebrated construction of the Wurriki Nyal civic precinct building reaching its full height during construction. Picture: Mark Wilson

Geelong’s civic precinct building Wurriki Nyal has reached its highest point as it makes a local impact on a global scale.

The six-storey building reached its highest point thanks to a steel roof structure fabricated by Norlane’s A+ Steel Fabrication.

That’s part of $29 million spent in the region to date to deliver the corporate headquarters and 2550sq m of new public space once complete in mid-2022.

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The project’s builder BESIX Watpac has been caught up in the global supply chain challenges from the covid pandemic, including waiting on two containers of cross laminated timber stranded on the Suez Canal, some of the 750 individual members delivered and installed in the building.

Quintessential Equity chief executive Russell Bullen said the global standard building would set sustainability standards, particularly through its use of cross laminated timber beams used in its construction instead of concrete and steel.

Civic Precinct - Topping out

Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher speaks after the welcome to country smoking ceremony atop the civic precinct building, Wurriki Nyal. Picture: Mark Wilson

Timber has a far lower embodied energy than concrete usually used in large-scale commercial construction.

Mr Bullen said the wave of major commercial construction projects across the city had also provided local contractors with the chance to upskill their workforce.

“Quintessential Equity is committed to the ongoing prosperity in Geelong. We love it down here and to be part of the transformation and creating world-class buildings and attracting new businesses and economic benefits to Geelong,” he said.

Civic Precinct - Topping out

A ceremony to mark the Greater Geelong council Civic Precinct building reaching its full height in construction. Picture: Mark Wilson

Mayor Stephanie Asher said the Cox Architecture design was testimony to Geelong’s status as a UNESCO city of design.

“This time next year we will see our organisation and staff together in this beautiful, sustainable six green star rating home,” she said.

Ms Asher said the new offices would save ratepayers $2 million a year in energy and rental costs and was a tangible action to tackle climate change.

Artists impressions of new Geelong council headquarters and separate office building at Mercer St, Geelong from COX Architects.

The project involved extensive consultation with Wadawurrung people, including landscaping and interior art design, Aboriginal employment targets and a traditional yarning circle at the precinct’s public space, named Gayoopanyoon Goopma, meaning gather.

Wadawurrung elder Aunty Mary Shuttleworth welcomed people to the ceremony, marked by the ceremonial planting of a drooping she-oak sapling.

She-oaks are one of the subjects being explored by Wadawurrung artists for new artworks in Wurriki Nyal.

Civic Precinct - Topping out

Wadawurrung Elder Mary Shuttleworth spoke during the ceremony about the land to be occupied by the new civic precinct. Picture: Mark Wilson

The entire precinct is valued at $220 million, the City of Greater Geelong portion is $100 million.

The council will be a landlord, with level two of the building available for lease.

A second building in the precinct owned by Quintessential Equity is expected to begin construction in late 2022.