Project's Summary

Renovating 2 Bligh Street: A Return to Original Elegance

2 Bligh Street, formerly Temple House, was designed by Stephenson and Turner in the International Style and completed in 1958. Over the years, the building underwent various modifications that deviated from its original character and expression, leaving it at odds with the surrounding modern office buildings. In 2018, Bates Smart took on the challenge of returning the building to its original modernist elegance while exemplifying contemporary sustainability principles.

Stripping Back to the Structure

Bates Smart's renovation began by stripping the building back to its structure, clearing away the modifications that had been added over the years. Rather than superimpose a vivid new identity, the team chose to reinforce the logic, symmetry, and character of the original structure. The interior team clad the columns in a low iron textured glass that appears to capture and radiate light, simultaneously expressing and dissolving the structural grid. Dark reveals on the columns accentuate the lightness of the glass grid while creating depth in the facade.

A Calm, Confident Interpretation

Within the context of its modernist neighbors, 2 Bligh Street's recent renovation seeks to complement them with a calm, confident interpretation of the original building that rediscovers its lightness and elegant simplicity. The building's finely proportioned, expressed structural grid is accentuated by recessed infill glazing and blue tiled masonry spandrel panels. Travertine was selected for the floors, recalling the building's early modernist heritage.

Establishing a Sustainable Future

2 Bligh's refit establishes its next 50-year lifecycle, minimizing waste and reducing embodied carbon. The facade and services have been completely renewed to update the building to today's standards and achieve a 5 Green Star rating, with a 5 Star NABERS rating also being pursued. Bates Smart worked closely with ARUP, the project's facade consultant and services engineer, to create an integrated solution for retrofitting an existing structure with contemporary technology. A collaborative working relationship with Lipman, the builders, ensured everyone worked together to create a high-quality project.

In a World That Values Newness and Novelty

2 Bligh Street stands out as a symbol of the value of recycling and reusing existing structures, promoting sustainability rather than regressing to the kitsch aesthetic often associated with these values. Bates Smart's renovation successfully returned the building to its original character and expression, establishing a sustainable future for the next 50 years.

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