Perceptions of change in office space design: redesigning Barwon Water’s office environment

  • YEAR
    Chapman, Jessica
    Jones, David
    Gray, Fiona
    2015 Conference Papers
    Architecture and Social Research
    Conference Papers


In early 2015 Barwon Water received State government funding to rationalise and renovate its various Geelong-based administrative offices into one complex. Integral to the renovations is a new green-star retrofit of the existing Ryrie Street complex by GHD Woodhead. The project will consolidate all of Barwon Water’s offices onto one site, increase floor space, provide a new ‘green’ atrium, and adopt an open plan layout. Having set a new strategic direction, Barwon Water is now undergoing a wholesale cultural and operational change in order to realise these strategic objectives. Aspirations for
workplace design have been identified as: environmentally sustainable; foster innovation and creativity; establish connections; improve communication and collaboration; provide efficient space for effective work; flexibility over time; welcoming and connected to the community; healthy; and, up to date technology. This paper investigates Barwon Water staff perceptions and apprehensions of this
prospective consolidation, particularly the proposed open plan office environment. While most research
in this topic is informed by an immediate pre-design workshop of staff needs, this research provides a
longitudinal perspective of human perceptions about work place environment change and a review of
how changes in office environment synergistically align to architectural responses and changes in
corporate strategies.


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