Australia’s growing up. It’s finding that outdoor spaces – often elevated – are good for work, rest and play.
Few people would argue that whatever else Sydney might do wrong, it does weather and views spectacularly well compared with other Australian major cities. That’s why the scarcity of good rooftop space for work and play has been such a mystery to visitors and locals alike.
Melbourne has had a rooftop cinema in the heart of the CBD for more than a decade, and there are cutting edge offices in South Yarra that have outdoor teppanyaki grills and beer taps. Meanwhile, Sydney is only now realising the benefits that open air spaces bring to offices and hospitality venues.
The advantages of outdoor space as a place to work may be relatively untapped, but recognition of those advantages is growing. In 2015 Griffith University academic Libby Sander wrote an opinion piece for The Conversation website on the move towards better utilising open air areas in the workplace. In it, she observed that “since [urban sociologist] Ray Oldenburg officially coined the term ‘third place’ in 1989, our drive to find accessible, social, technologically enabled and welcoming places to work within the urban environment continues unabated.”
A report released earlier this year from design firm Hassell found that while salary and benefits provided by a company are important to staff, the appeal of a good workplace culture and workplace facilities, including outdoor spaces, outranks salary as an attraction.
So how best to create an office that is technologically enabled and conducive to work, while still providing that coveted “third space”?