To reinforce the black form of the projecting framework, Weirwalker, in conjunction with Fourfoursixsix, proposed a cassette format with negative detailing. This allows the fixings to be concealed, so the strong forms, not the finer detail, are read this makes the box shapes pop a little more.
On one side, these box elements appear to stack one behind the other an effect created by 4.4m deep recesses in the upper levels, which form light wells. These light wells break up the overall massing of the building and future-proof the provision of light in the building, taking into account any future development on the adjacent site.
Michael Doig of Ganellen, the company that was contracted to undertake both the design management and construction of the building, says the recesses also perform a structural function, breaking up the eastern elevation.
"This enables the building to move more easily in the event of an earthquake," he says. "As the height of the building increases, there is a need for greater flexibility and ductility."
At the first-floor level, the composite aluminium cladding is perforated to ventilate the car parking facilities behind. The lighter look of the perforated cladding contrasts the substantial look of the box forms above.
But the solidity is not just about the way the building looks it's also about the way it has been built. Structural engineering firm Lewis Bradford designed the building to IL3 level, which is 130% of the National Building Standard.
"We purposely over-specified the required strengthening," says Lindsay O'Donnell. "It was a commercial decision that we feel will pay off and in fact Lewis Bradford is now a key tenant, along with legal firm Anderson Lloyd and the Mediterranean Shipping Company."
Michael Doig says all parties involved in the design and construction wanted to ensure the best structural outcome for the site.
"This is a highly efficient, highly engineered building with a concrete and steel-framed structure and a very robust CFA pile ground improvement system. This brings strength to the upper layer of soil that can be prone to liquefaction. The building foundations are not physically connected to the piles, which are shallow and numerous. These small piles are topped with a layer of compacted aggregate, and a concrete slab. The hard fill spreads the load over the entire site, so in the event of an earthquake there is no single point of weakness."
Similar attention to detail has gone into the office fit-outs, starting with the entry lobby.