The Geelong building encourages the community to talk and talk together

The new Geelong City Headquarters – Wurriki Nyal – has been completed. Designed by Cox Architecture, the Mercer Street area will be flooded with some 900 council workers later this month.

Taking its name from the words Wadawurrung for ‘talking and talking together’, Wurriki Nyal includes the council’s new customer service centre, which opens on 5 September, as well as 2,550m² of public space. The $102.5 million development has invested more than $39 million in the area, with 468 workers hired for the project.

“Wurriki Nyal will enable the city to better serve the community for decades to come,” said Greater Geelong Mayor Peter Murrihy.

“The building is an exciting long-term commitment to central Geelong and shows our confidence in the continued growth of the CBD as a commercial and cultural district.

“Its durable features will save energy costs and rental costs year after year, while providing a central location for customer service and support.”

The local community requested that the building exemplify the city’s UNESCO City of Design designation, be built sustainably, encourage active transportation options, honor Geelong’s indigenous and cultural heritage, and be accessible.

The brick facade is inspired by the woolen shops of Geelong, and the railway spur that once led to Cunningham Pier is commemorated by a line of cobblestones through the complex. The building further includes three permanent art installations by Wadawurrung artists Deanne Gilson, Kait James and Billy-Jay O’Toole, as well as significant cultural features of the landscape.

Quintessential Equity Executive Chairman Shane Quinn said he was delighted with the end result.

“The district is adapting to the rapid growth of Geelong in recent years, providing local workers with access to highly designed and sustainable office spaces, as well as cafes and retail outlets for all to enjoy,” he said.

“The project has and will continue to provide strong support to the local economy, with more jobs being created through construction and a commitment to local manufacturing.

Cox’s director, Andrew Tucker, says he’s delighted that his practice has been able to meet the aspirations of the community.

“The new office features a sustainable wood design and natural materials, providing a beautiful, bright and healthy workspace.

“The Civic Quarter is intended to enrich Geelong’s natural and built environment, further validating Geelong’s UNESCO City of Design designation, while honoring the city’s industrial heritage.”

Wurriki Nyal is one of the few buildings in Australia to use mass engineered timber. The building has a 140 kW photovoltaic system and was built to a 6-star Green Star and 5-star NABERS energy rating.

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