Nishi Commercial

Canberra, Australia (Completed 2012)

There’s a lot of talk about environmental sustainability. Policies are drafted and concepts written down but it doesn’t matter how many guidelines you write or how much you say about it, it’s what you do that counts.

Nishi Commercial is our ‘do’. A model for radically sustainable building, its clear windows and timber louvred facade for shading have replaced counterintuitive tinted glass and artificial lighting is replaced with daylight.

On its roof is the largest single array of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels of any office building in Australia. Its occupants have windows that open as part of a mixed-mode ventilation strategy, and viewing opportunities between floors.

Nishi Commercial, located at our NewActon1 precinct, has a 6 star GreenStar Office AS Built Office v3 rating, the highest available, from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and a 5 star NABERS Energy and Water efficiency ratings2 and is now home to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, legal firm Clayton Utz and others.

Nishi Commercial has earned the support of our peers.3

We love pictures and story telling. With them we create visual essays of the landscape, our projects and curiosities.

There’s a lot of talk about environmental sustainability. Policies are drafted and concepts written down but it doesn’t matter how many guidelines you write or how much you say about it, it’s what you do that counts.

Nishi Commercial is our ‘do’. A model for radically sustainable building, its clear windows and timber louvred facade for shading have replaced counterintuitive tinted glass and artificial lighting is replaced with daylight.

On its roof is the largest single array of photovoltaic (PV) solar panels of any office building in Australia. Its occupants have windows that open as part of a mixed-mode ventilation

strategy, and viewing opportunities between floors.

Nishi Commercial, located at our NewActon1 precinct, has a 6 star GreenStar Office AS Built Office v3 rating, the highest available, from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and a 5 star NABERS Energy and Water efficiency ratings2 and is now home to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, legal firm Clayton Utz and others.

Nishi Commercial has earned the support of our peers.3

We love pictures and story telling. With them we create visual essays of the landscape, our projects and curiosities.

Project NameNishi Commercial
Project TypeMixed use (office, retail, hospitality)
Design TeamMolonglo Group, Oculus, Fender Katsalidis Architects, March Studio, Arup, Clear Design
Size23,055m2 over 10 levels. 282 basement carparking spaces and 214 bicycle parking spaces
StatusCompleted 2012

NewActon is a precinct on the edge of Canberra’s city centre that Molonglo Group is progressively restoring. It is built on the heritage grounds of Acton House, a late 1920s temporary housing facility for newly arrived employees of the capital. NewActon does at a precinct scale what the Burley Griffins attempted to achieve for the city: vegetable gardens deliver produce to the precinct restaurants; nature and architecture collide; and the architectural envelope folds into flora and art. The high-rise apartments (high but not too high) also feed into this ground level generously.

There are 48 other neat sustainable facts including a blackwater plant which takes untreated waste water from the building and filters it for use, namely, in flushing toilets; more than 85% of waste generated during construction was recycled and diverted from landfill; unused energy generated by the building in off-peak times is fed into the local power grid, acting like a renewable energy power station; two 10-storey atriums act as the return-air shafts for the air conditioning, as well as bringing daylight deep into the floor plates; office towers are serviced by destination control lifts which reduce energy consumption and waiting times when travelling between office floors; exposed concrete ceilings throughout the building provide ‘thermal mass’, a natural cool sink to keep the building cool without needing as much energy intensive air conditioning; waste produced from the building is closely monitored and weighed frequently to ensure the maximum possible amount of waste is diverted from landfill to reuse and recycling facilities

Awards are tricky. Do they mean everything or nothing? Are they laurels to be rested on or simply gestures of encouragement that say ‘keep going’? Who knows. But there’s nothing worse than someone who won’t accept a compliment. So we smile and say thank you for this recognition and to all our co-conspirators who made these awards possible for our many Molonglo Group projects. See them listed here.