Matthews Architects was approached to design this first RACS headquarters within South Australia. The facility would house not only the office administration team but also practical training rooms, giving medical students in Adelaide the chance to learn from this prestigious institution.
RACS is an organisation driven by memberships which allow access to their online libraries, training courses and social functions held within their headquarters throughout Australia. These members, all current or aspiring medical professionals must feel a level of exclusivity and security stemming from their personal memberships. We have captured these feelings in sleek black internal wall cladding against a mixture of cool tiles and warm wooden flooring. A personal point of pride for us was within the design for the members lounge, located on the top floor of the building. We created a space that was elegantly laid out with its finishes but housed semi-hidden joinery spaces, storage, and cookware for the administrative team. We planned and programmed in spaces that would wow members as they came for social functions but could be maintained for the daily use of the staff who would also expect nothing but the best.
While we have carefully programmed the space to separate many of the administrative functions from the training and event spaces, this did not mean we could approach this as a normal office fit out. The workforce that would be relocating into this building were from two separate workplaces and were used to having a brick-and-mortar office each. While the client wanted to upgrade the team to a more collaborative and open environment, we had to remain sensitive to their previous working conditions. To address this, we worked with furniture suppliers and fabricators and made the choice to implement large workstation desks fitted with non-obtrusive acoustic barriers just to cut down noise and increase the feeling of privacy. We wanted to show them the benefits of such a workspace, not just in workflow but in how positive the openness could feel through huge windows and courtyards, letting in swathes of natural light. All of this to address a workforce we knew were accustomed to very particular conditions.
We have gone beyond what anyone could call an ‘average office fit-out’ in the attention to detail and commitment to providing members and staff for RACS a social, training and working space to suit any of their needs and expose them to positive daily circulations they did not have before. Because when you want to design something spectacular in architecture, you must know where to start, you must know the average to blow it away.