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A visit to Coca Cola Place at North Sydney
By: Adam D’Angelo
On 2/12/2012 I had a tour to the award-winning architectural
estate of art Coca-Cola Place (Also known as The Ark) in North
Sydney which is now famous for its 6-Star Green Star
accreditation amongst other awards.
Coca-Cola Place is built on the site of the former Telstra telephone exchange. Australian
architect, Rice Daubney designed the building and construction began in late 2007 with
estimated budget of $230 million.
Coca-Cola Place was the first high rise commercial building in NSW to receive the Green
Building Council of Australia’s 6-Star Green Star ‘as built’ V2 certification. Coca-Cola
Amatil’s interior fitout was also awarded a 5 Star Green Star rating for Office Interiors V1.1
by the Green Building Council of Australia in August 2011.
During the tour to the site we visited the whole building and were introduced to many
interesting facts about the design of the building and how the architect and builders
incorporated green building and green office initiatives into their design and construction.
At the entrance to Coca Cola Place a giant aboriginal painting has been applied to the
underside of the building overhang. Installed under the direction of its creator, Aboriginal
artist Freddie Timms, the work depicts Lissadell station, where Timms spent much of his
early life growing up and working as a stockman.
Beside the Mount Street entry, is a sculpture by Hany Armanious and Mary Teague, called
‘Lines of Communication'. A sinuous tangle of cabling constructed out of wiring that was
retained from the demolition of the telephone switch exchange that was formerly on the site.
Some other recycled elements have been used artistically as well. The foyer and lift lobbies,
reuse signage from the original demolished building. For instance, there is a random
arrangement of signage lettering above the foyer reception desk, designed by one of Rice
Daubney's project architects.
Our next stop was the basement and carpark area which includes charging bays for electric
and hybrid cars which are much more environmental friendly and also a large space for
bicycles and required facilities for cyclists to encourage people to use bicycle instead of car
as an environmental friendly alternative with least amount of carbon footprint.
Bicycle spaces in carpark area
Charging bays for electric and hybrid cars
Another interesting green technology that has been used in the building is the trigeneration
plant for electricity, cooling and hot water heating which is also located in the basement of
The tri-generation system installed in the basement of Coca Cola Place utilises a combined
heat and power unit, with an absorption chiller, to generate all the building's electrical,
heating and cooling needs year round, with excess power generated, sent into the cities
electrical grid and used by some other commercial properties in Sydney’s CBD.
The estimated savings in greenhouse gases emissions from the plant is approximately 1300
tonnes of CO2 per year, which is the equivalent of removing 500 cars from the roads which
is a significant figure.
Coca-cola place designers also incorporated rain water harvesting system for the buildings
air conditioning cooling tower and treatment and recycling of grey water, for use in toilets
and for irrigation of adjoining green spaces. These green systems along with the use of
water efficient fittings in the building are expected to reduce water use in the building by at
least 7,700 litres per year.
We then had a visit to the office interiors in the building which was awarded a 5 Star Green
Star rating for Office Interiors in 2011.
Coca Cola Place utilises several systems for achieving its sustainable credentials. Passive
design systems have been used, such as orientating inhabited spaces to maximise natural
daylight and views, and screening the western elevation to reduce thermal gain.
Additionally, an open plan layout provides the majority of workstations with views of Sydney
Harbour. The work environment means everyone gets access to natural light and views of
the outdoors, which research has found can improve productivity and reduce headaches and
fatigue. External terraces on some floors also provide outdoor breakout spaces and
encourage staff to further soak up the views.
Office Interiors with harbor views and plenty of natural daylight
According to Peter Steel, CCA’s General Manager Strategy and Planning, “the internal stairs
connecting six levels encourages greater communication and less reliance on lifts. In our old
office people were tucked away in their own offices or behind a cubicle, but in Coca-Cola
Place its open-plan, with numerous ‘touch-down areas’ or breakout areas on the floors for
Fitout includes a range of environmentally-sourced materials and furniture. For instance, one
green feature attracting plenty of attention is the 111 Navy Chair, which the Coca-Cola
Company has produced in partnership with furniture maker Emco. Each chair is produced
from approximately 111 recycled plastic bottles, and reinforces the link between CCA
products and the sustainable new fitout. These chairs are used in the internal café and
breakout areas throughout the fitout.
The fitout was awarded points for installing workstations, chairs, tables, walls and partitions,
joinery, flooring and storage units with a lower environmental impact. Selected chairs, tables
and memorabilia were re-used from CCA’s previous premises, reducing demand for new
materials and the cost of the fitout.
The fitout features water-efficient fittings which reduce the water use in the building by 48
The fitout is highly energy-efficient and is targeting a NABERS 4.5 star rating. The energy
efficiency of the fitout is all the more impressive given it includes CCA equipment such as
snack machines, beverage coolers and coffee dispensers, as well as a full commercial
The designers also included the following technologies and features to reach an energy
efficient office design:
Zoned timer switches which reduce energy use by controlling lighting within the fitout and
turning lights off when areas are not in use.
Replacing regular desktop computers with laptops.
Installing an internal staircase to reduce lift use.
On-demand air-conditioning to reduce supplementary operation
These features reduce annual energy demand by 206,000 kWh compared to an equivalent
fitout of its size equivalent to taking 28 cars off the road.
An integrated approach between the tenant CCA and the building’s owner, Investa, delivered
benefits during construction, and continues to benefit them in occupation.
According to Investa official the shared understanding, vision and responsibilities of both
parties has improved waste management and reduced energy usage during operation. The
approach to commissioning the tenancy and establishment of an Environmental
Management Plan (EMS) all earned the project points under Green Star.
Green Star ratings are awarded across nine categories including Management, Indoor
Environment Quality, Energy, Transport, Water, Materials, Land Use and Ecology,
Emissions and Innovation and Coca-Cola Place received points in most of the categories.
Considering all of the green star awards and features throughout the building, Coca Cola
Place is a good example of a green building which worth visiting for building, artwork and