Ballarat Gov Hub

John Wardle Architects

The Ballarat Gov Hub is a workplace for over one thousand employees and its design suggests that an office can, and should make a civic contribution. Repairing public space, it includes new structures and spaces for the community to inhabit and more broadly, it takes climate change seriously and mitigates carbon emissions wherever it can.

Within Ballarat’s civic precinct, the Gov Hub is highly connected to the neighbourhood of library, civic hall and park, creating a positive urban impact. Inhabitants are close to a diverse network of activity at ground level – smaller brick chambers are a tactile and engaging presence for retail, community, and office activities. They also visually tie the precinct together, with brickwork being the dominant material of the adjacent Civic Hall. A new glass conservatory, with its own timber structure, creates a welcoming microclimate year-round for all.

Two lifts provide flexibility, while generous interconnecting stairs offer choice of route and access, ideally suited for a post-pandemic world. The Gov Hub’s primary structure is mass timber, a combination of CLT (cross laminated timber) and GLT (glue laminated timber), which radically reduces its carbon footprint. Its interior is organised into neighbourhoods, each defined by primary timber columns and beams. The emphasis is on creating a productive team environment.

An outer skin of solid zinc wraps the low rise, five-storey building, sidestepping the typical glass box. The gabled-roof form appears similar in shape to a large rural shed, while the scattered window pattern creates a more domestic interior experience. This form significantly reduces heat load. To the south, a glazed end is sliced open to reveal shared gathering spaces including a timber lined attic to make visible the work of those serving the community.
The Ballarat Gov Hub is civic in nature, personable in scale and sustainable in outlook.

Photography: Peter Bennetts