Agilent Technologies
Spectroscopy Technology + Innovation Centre (STIC)
Mulgrave, Melbourne

Status: complete

Agilent Technologies wanted us to design a built environment that would change how their people work: to help them invent, test and refine ideas more consistently and get them to market more quickly. They also wanted the building to celebrate spectroscopy – the study of light. Every aspect of the design – the spatial qualities, façade, detailing, furniture specification, lighting and even ventilation design – has been designed to disrupt ‘business as usual’ and provoke innovation. The building is a series of micro-environments for thinking, testing, knowledge sharing and production; wrapped in a ‘veil’ that offers constantly shifting experiences of light and shadow to employees, collaborators and the public. 

The design reflects Agilent Technologies’ team sizes, disciplinary mix and organisational culture. The multi-layered, habitable facade creates alcoves for small team and individual work. The open-plan research space is gently divided into small neighbourhoods by the careful placement of pods which are technologically rich environments for virtual teaming, stand up meetings, small group work or focussed individual production. Directly adjacent and visually connected to the research spaces are a series of highly flexible laboratory environments. The building is connected to existing facilities on campus through the ‘town square,’ the social heart for the organisation.

PRL Principals Anna Maskiell and Philip Ward delivered this project as employees of S2F/SKM. Anna was the Design and Project Architect, Philip was the Director of Workplace Strategy.

Peter Bennetts

Morrison Kleeman Real Estate
Eltham, Victoria

Status: complete

Our approach to the re-design of Morrison Kleeman Real Estate’s office, at the heart of Eltham, saw it as inseparable from the adjoining Town Square. Featuring prominently as a two-storey form at the centre of the row of shops backing onto the square, it provided an opportunity to engage with and give back to Eltham’s most central public space. Thus the “back” of the building was perhaps more important than the front.

While the adjacent buildings present unambiguous facades that mark a clear separation between public and private, open and closed, indoor and outdoor, the frontage of Morrison Kleeman Real Estate offers a blurred zone of ambiguity. Slow pedestrian weaving is encouraged and made possible by an open colonnade where one may pause for rest or shelter from the elements at any time of day or night.

In the generous spirit with which the colonnade was conceived, its cambered timber columns offer a warmth and softness that relates to Eltham’s architectural vernacular.

Matthew Stanton
Philip Ward

Australian Federal Police Academy

Status: complete

Public Realm Lab's involvement in the masterplanning of the Australian Federal Police Academy's (AFPA) Canberra site followed the rejection of two previous masterplans prepared by other teams in 2004 and 2005. A re-briefing task was undertaken by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Strategic Design Manager Philip Ward in 2006 to determine changes to strategic objectives for the AFP organisation pertaining to the site, revised staff numbers, specialist facilities and staging requirements.

Central to the masterplan were the following key themes:

Security - The campus is entered via a secure Barbican gatehouse and shielded by a fortress wall from which long views provide surveillance and security.

ESD - Building orientation, material selection, water, energy and services reticulation strategies combine to minimise energy usage and operational costs.

Campus - The campus is a gentle mix of buildings following university campus philosophy. Within the campus, the experience is one of a complex village, in which shared facilities are drawn into communal zones to enhance communication between divisions.

Landscape - The masterplan responds to the landscape context and makes strategic use of the site’s topography. Terraced gardens and courtyards are created between buildings, offering a range of different outdoor spaces for training, work and recreation.

Ceremony - Central to the campus are formal ceremonial spaces. The entry and arrival experience are carefully curated through the manipulation of scale and views to enhance the sense of ceremony upon entry.

Future-proofing - The masterplan is based on flexible planning principles to allow for future campus expansion and to match the needs of the AFP for the next 10-15 years.

All of these themes are drawn together in “the Wall”, a metaphorical fortress wall that is an architectural expression of the AFPA site’s complex story.

Strategic Workspace Assessment + Enrichment (SWAE)
Agilent Technologies
Spectroscopy Technology + Innovation Centre (STIC)

Status: complete

Strategic Workspace Assessment + Enrichment (SWAE) is a rigorous, evidence-based method for assessing and improving the way workspaces support organisational strategy and culture. 

The STIC building, completed in 2013, was charged with changing the way Research + Development teams worked in order to deliver improvements in innovation, motivation and quality. 

Every aspect of the STIC – the spatial qualities, material selection, detailing, furniture specification, lighting and even ventilation – has been designed to disrupt ‘business as usual’ and provoke innovation. The building is a series of micro-environments for thinking, testing, knowledge sharing and production.


> measures the impact of those design strategies against the original brief

> closes the feedback loop on briefing, design and procurement

> identifies targeted, cost-effective 'tweaks' for continuous improvement

> engages building users in a structured feedback process that clearly demonstrates the value placed on their working environment. 







Peter Bennetts