Medibank Place – Interior

Hassell with K.P.D.O., Chris Connell Design, and Russell & George

The Medibank workplace in Melbourne’s Docklands was part of a major cultural change for Australia’s largest health insurer to live its purpose to the core and create better health outcomes for its members, employees and the community. That aspiration drove Hassell to design one of the healthiest workplaces in the world – one that goes beyond conventional activity-based working (ABW) to create health-based working (HBW).

The latter is an approach that places the mental and physical health of people at its heart. Medibank employees choose how and where they work, selecting from more than 26 types of work settings: from indoor quiet spaces and collaborative hubs to WiFi-enabled balconies and places to stand and work. Circadian lighting in certain areas mimic natural daylight patterns supporting people’s biorhythms.

Employees who want a more vigorous workout can also make use of a ground level multipurpose sports court. Adjacent to this, an edible garden sits near a demonstration kitchen that Medibank uses to promote healthy eating to staff, not-for-profit organisations and the wider community.

The building itself is described as being ‘hardwired for health’. A ramp from the main entrance on Bourke Street spirals upwards from street level, allowing Medibank employees easy access to bike storage on their way in to work. This makes both a symbolic and practical commitment to encouraging employee health and wellbeing.

The building showcases a Hassell signature – a truly integrated trans-disciplinary approach to design. Architects and landscape architects contributed to the workplace interiors, interior designers and architects to the park, and all three disciplines were involved in the base building design. Hassell invited three design firms – Chris Connell Design, K.P.D.O. and Russell & George – to collaborate on the design for the plaza level. This succeeded in creating layers of character and meaning to inspire people to connect in new ways with their workplace.

Medibank Place has become world- renowned and a case study for healthy working, regularly visited by international organisations and acclaimed through multiple award wins

Photography: Earl Carter (interior) & Peter Bennetts (exterior)