Brisbane’s Newest Skyscaper Evokes Seidler’s Vision

GPT will pad out its $10-billion Wholesale Office Fund with the development of a carbon neutral 22-storey office tower, completing the puzzle on the underutilised riverfront site.

The biophilic commercial tower planned for 135 Eagle Street will require the demolition of the curvaceous low-rise building that houses Brisbane watering hole the Pig ‘N’ Whistle.

But the design of the new tower is an homage to its predecessor, maintaining the fluid design through the public plaza and terraced podium levels.

In its brief to Cameron and Co Architecture and Cox Architecture, GPT Group was emphatic about creating a workspace designed for people, with high ESG values, unique workplace offers and flexibility embedded in its design.

The podium is the base for GPT’s new workplace offer of co-working, space on demand, vitality wellness centre and its new DesignSuites product, that allows customers to grow within the tower.

Each level of the tower will include a facade that has been designed to be movable to create an outdoor space according to tenants’ floorplate requirements.

The pared back tower will be dwarfed by the neighbouring Riverside Centre but the design of the tower is quintessentially Brisbane and sympathetic to Harry Seidler’s original 1986 masterplan for the riverside precinct.

22-storey office tower at 135 Eagle Street
▲ The 22-storey office tower at 135 Eagle Street will include a wellness space to provide amenities to attract employees to the building.

“This smaller northern tower was sketched out in embryonic form in Seidler’s original hand-drawn plan, and later drawings align much more closely with the low-level restaurants and bars that exist on the site today,” the design report stated.

“Importantly, in contrast to the rigorous cartesian geometry of the Riverside Centre’s design, Seidler’s designs of the landscape and water elements around it are freely curvilinear, spilling away from the central tower in all directions and establishing the unique open-air public plaza space that exists today.”

Skygarden at 135 Eagle Street has been planned as a free-form terraced landscape to create a riverfront workplace, public realm and conferencing and wellness space.

The Riverside Plaza’s grand staircase and wave beam will be preserved within the planning of the public realm connecting the two GPT assets.

The cathedral-like void of the lobby is framed by sill-less glass with landscaping featured throughout the ground plane both indoors and outdoors.

Skygarden's lobby at 135 Eagle Street
▲ Skygarden’s lobby at 135 Eagle Street features landscaping to blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Food and beverage and retail space will front the river, following the outline of the existing built form from the Seidler masterplan, with a level of conferencing facilities, and another level of wellness amenities will cap the terraced podium.

The building will be operationally carbon neutral and GPT will offset the carbon footprint of the construction of its office tower at 135 Eagle Street using its 1100ha koala habitat reforestation project near Noosa, in partnership with Greenfleet, according to GPT Group’s head of office leasing, Stephen Nicol.

“We have the most certified carbon neutral office space in Australia, and lots of the bigger corporate tenants are looking for strong ESG values as they move to meet net zero targets by 2030,” Nicol said.

“We’ll be creating our own carbon credits through the reforestation of koala habitat on the Sunshine Coast, which will deliver us with 500,000 tonnes of carbon offsets for our development project.

“This tower was designed as a building for Brisbane’s skyline.”

GPT hopes to break ground on the project late next year with a view to completing in the first quarter of 2026, and luring top law and accounting firms to the premium office asset within the golden triangle.

Meanwhile Dexus’ $2.3-billion two-tower Waterfront Brisbane redevelopment of Eagle Street Pier is still encountering friction amid reported cost blowouts, following a lengthy battle through the courts.

It also drew fire from the late Harry Seidler’s widow as an “overscaled wall of glass” development on the Brisbane River.

Deloitte’s Brisbane branch has pre-committed to eight floors in Waterfront Brisbane’s north tower in anticipation of doubling its local headcount by 2025.

Article source: Queensland Property Investor