Our Community House is a world-first co-working space for more than 400 not-for-profit and social enterprise workers to share facilities, collaborate and bring about change. Located in the heart of North Melbourne, Canopy was appointed to take care of the build for this project.
“We were involved very early on and helped value manage the project from the start. Being involved in the design process allowed the architect to shoot ideas around, which in turn allowed us to finesse what would be achievable. This kind of process is what our business does on a daily basis and shows the power of completing a more integrated design and construct process,” says Canopy director Karl Simity.
The brief for Our Community House was to transform an old union building into a modern co-working centre. This would be a place for Our Community to call home and a place to showcase their business to their clients. The existing structure had great bones but needed a lot of love to bring it up to a modern industrial office.
“There was a substantial demolition that needed to happen over the Christmas period and we had a tight timeframe for the volume of work. Luckily, the site was large enough to spread the teams around to different areas of the building. At any given time we had up to 40 people on site,” he says.
Canopy stripped the building right back to its bones to transform it. A full bathroom and end-of-trip refurb was completed and the roof steel trusses were exposed to create a beautiful vast open airy space in the rear.
“To reduce the overall cost of the project we had to look for cost saving options that would still maintain the designer’s intent. We came up with the idea to fix a minimal baton light to a uni strut. This created the illusion of a linear strip light but was much more cost effective. It really gave a unique look to the space and actually ended up being a great feature of the project”, says Karl.
Large open ceiling with 8 meters of height
“The rear part of the building had a really unique roof structure. During the design phase, we opened up the ceiling and found beautiful steel trusses and a pitched roof of more than eight meters high. There's a floor above the front section of the building, so we removed the ceiling to expose a concrete waffle slab with a great height of 4.4 meters. The addition of a feature mural and a beautiful tree behind the reception area really sets the space off,” he says.
Our Community is an amazing business looking to really make a difference. It was a pleasure to help transform this space. The team were so inclusive and really made us feel like part of the family. Sometimes the harder you work the better the result and this one is the perfect example.