Parliament of Victoria Member’s Annexe
- Peter Elliott Architecture + Urban Design
- with TCL
Parliament House is one of Melbourne’s most important public buildings having been built in several stages from 1856. Described as an ‘unfinished masterpiece’, Parliament House was in urgent need of more space to support the working parliament. A new contemporary freestanding annexe building has been built within the eastern gardens to provide much-needed office accommodation for 102 members of parliament, a major feature of which is an extensive landscaped roof garden. The annexe has been planned as a perimeter courtyard scheme that has been partly sunken into the ground to enhance views and integrate it topographically within the precinct.
The annexe is a sophisticated contemporary building embedded within a beautiful historic garden. The manner of the architecture has achieved a quiet civic dignity, which defers to the landscape setting and the grand east wing of old Parliament House. The annexe has received wide acclaim since its completion in August 2018. There have been numerous articles published on the project, interviews, lectures, organized tours for local and interstate visitors with an interest in architecture, landscape and urban design. The Office of the Victorian Government Architect has used the project as an exemplar model for government departments and other organisations.
The annexe provides office and break-out spaces for 102 members linked back into Parliament House. The building has achieved a high level of amenity with every office having a view of the gardens, openable windows and excellent daylight. The large central courtyard provides visual interaction between offices and is a popular gathering space. The new member’s offices have been well received with significantly improved productivity as compared to the appalling older facilities which members had to tolerate for decades. The project reinforces the high quality public realm aspects of the precinct with a new contemporary insertion into a heritage garden.
The design of the new annexe is based on three key design ideas, a companion building, a building in a garden and a connected building. A companion building is one that has a close relationship with a pre-existing architecture. A building in a garden engages with the structure and topography of the landscape. A connected building directly links and aligns with Parliament House levels and formal axis. The project design team was comprised of Melbourne based professionals all with a strong understanding and commitment to the local design culture and the democratic foundations of the city.
The parliament required the new annexe to prioritize Victorian and Australian materials, products and services as well as demonstrating a high standard of design innovation and sustainability practice. The building has excellent environmental credentials having been designed to meet the Green Star environmental rating tools performance targets, including 5 star design and as built and 6 star interiors. The project embedded sustainability initiatives through the whole design process with a particular emphasis on passive design principles. The building has been excavated into the topography of the site with 100% of the footprint being replaced with a landscaped trafficable roof garden.
Testimonial Quote – Victorian Architecture Medal
“The Parliament of Victoria Member’s Annexe is an extension to one of Melbourne’s most important public buildings – the first significant extension to Parliament House in 150 years. It is an outstanding project and clearly the result of a successful collaborative relationship between a skilled architect, an intelligent client, dedicated consultants and a skilled contractor. The craft and detail, inside and out, is exceptional. This is a legacy project that will serve many generations of Victorians to come.”
Rosemary Burne, AIA Chair of Juries 2019