Newstead’s Latest Commercial Offering: Rethinking the Traditional Work Space

Approved at the end of last month, 17 Byres Street, Newstead takes a refreshing design approach to the nature of work and the workplace. Developed by Brisbane’s “Limitless” and designed by Cavill Architects in partnership with Hogg & Lamb, 17 Byres Street incorporates a series of versatile workplaces addressed by a four-storey atrium – a generous public entry designed to provide a rejuvenating experience of abundant landscape, natural light and views to the sky.

Remarkably, the developer has chosen to remove a quarter of what would otherwise be “lettable” space to provide for the generous atrium. It is an enterprising move. In an economy where concerns about an oversupply of office space and falling levels of confidence in the property sectors looms, developers need to stand out – and considered, thoughtful design will always be saleable.

The development supplies 1500 sq m of open-plan office space, large flexible floor plates and large column spans provide contiguous spaces to maximise interaction. Modern offices need to provide for connection, interaction and flexibility in the workplace; and the development at 17 Byres Street inherently understands this shift – creating a workplace that encourages interaction and promotes connection.

17 Byres Street specs:

  • 1500 sq m and three-storeys of office space
  • Each level faces the atrium – creating large natural light voids
  • Internal staircase and garden
  • Rooftop terrace
  • Maximising day-lighting to office zones
  • Substantial landscaping, feature tree within the atrium
  • The protection and retention of existing vegetation
  • Direct access to Brisbane’s Riverwalk and bicycle paths
  • Walking distance to Fortitude Valley and Bowen Hills train stations
  • 1 km from Teneriffe ferry.

The modern office

The 20th century marked a series of transformations of the workplace; changes in technology and management theories prompted reconsiderations of the way we work. The changes have stimulated the evolution of the office – from an approach where clerical tasks were undertaken with strict supervision, separating people and functions to the corporatisation of the workplace post-WWII.

The last few decades have heralded the rise of the white-collar workforce and the “professional consultant” – generating a demand for an increase in the perimeter for cellular offices.

In the last decade or so – the knowledge-economy of the 21st century has eroded the conventions of the traditional office. Workplaces now encourage interactive spaces, there exists less of an emphasis on hierarchy and independence, and the requirements have changed, too –  employees are given greater latitude to work remotely and corporations have entirely reappraised the requirements of the modern workplace which in turn shifts the value of global property assets.

Byres Street Atrium

Suburb overview – Newstead, Brisbane

The Newstead precinct currently has approximately 9,000 staff working within it, and over 100,000 residents within a three-kilometre radius. Bounded on the east by the Bulimba reach of the river and on the west by Breakfast Creek road, 17 Byres Street is situated approximately 3.5 km north-east of Brisbane’s CBD. Traditionally the site of manufacturing businesses and industry, the resurgence of Newstead is a familiar story – now littered with new cafes, bars and restaurants – development in the area has been swift and indiscreet.


The design of 17 Byres Street is mindful of these changes, it’s a well-thought-out building where people and place have been considered at each point in its design. The atrium has been designed to allow staff and visitors to move freely through the building. The architect, Sandy Cavill says the idea was to “make a space that feels public”; and in an otherwise industrial area, the space will create a sense of community for visitors. Cavill says the resolve was to distinguish the public and private nature evident in the two facades of the building, “The atrium frames the public aspect of the building, it is transparent, open – an interactive space that encourages a sense of community both [from] within the building and from the street.”

The skewed geometry allows for different configurations of the office space too, 17 Byres Street is a speculative development – to be leased. The simplicity of the plan supports a set of coherent urban design principles; the public space in the building is prioritised, creating a dynamic interactive environment that embraces the requirements of a flexible modern office.

According to the developer, “17 Byres St represents a unique opportunity for businesses to prosper from efficiency in modern workplace design and from the high level of building amenity provided. [The] building aspires to provide a workplace that fosters enthusiasm, a sanctuary for its occupants and a destination for its visitors.”

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