111 Eagle Street Tower by Cox Rayner Architects

This 111 (pronounced one, one, one) Eagle Street designed by Cox Rayner Architects, in collaboration with Arup, is probably one of the most expected and fascinated project in 2011.
This architectural project aims at setting a new benchmark in innovative office design interrelating environmental sustainability and architectural design.
111 Eagle Street, Cox Rayner Architects, Brisbane, Australia, © Cox Rayner Architects.

This environmentally sustainable tower is the largest mixed use corporate office park in Brisbane. It is composed of a 40,000-square-meter A-Grade Commercial office space, high tech utility facilities, community facilities, proposed child care centre and a residential precinct. This new 44-storey, 62,500-square-meter high-rise is the most sustainable building in Australia. It is located in Brisbane's 'Golden Triangle' precinct.
© Cox Rayner Architects

Morphogenetic high-rise tower
Technically, this project is ambitious in terms of construction with the use of branching systems — after the plant morphology — and smart materials. Branching has been studied intensively in many disciplinary fields, as Michael Weinstock notes in his text Metabolism and Morphology (Architectural Design, March-April 2008). Focusing his analysis on plant morphology, Weinstock defines two type of branching networks of vessels: 'xylem', which consists of many bundles of narrow tubes; and 'phloem', which moves the carbohydrates that are assembled in the leaves to other metabolically active parts of the plant.
© Cox Rayner Architects

As we will see, Cox Rayner Architects' 111 Eagle Street appears to be identical with plants: spatial organisation of large, flexible internal spaces and campus-style floor plates to capture light and use of materials such as smart glass, all in accordance with plant metabolism. As Weinstock adds, "In plants and buildings, the need to deploy the maximum surface area for photosynthesis or light is constrained by the necessity for a stable structural configuration that will be strong enough to resist buckling under its own weight, and to resist additional imposed loads such as snow and wind pressure from all directions".
It is clear that 111 Eagle Tower has incorporated all these data. Its morphology confirms as it is inspired by an algorithm based on the way plants grow upwards towards the light, and incorporates a structure of steel-encased concrete branches which binds the building. Hence this organic nature of the building that echoes the growing canopy in the nearby Fig Tree Plaza. This resulting filigree of structure is a reflect of the city's two iconic Fig Trees in the building's forecourt. Yet, the rationale for the concept was initially pragmatic. As the agency explains, the tower is built over a wide existing loading dock such that there were few points on the ground where columns could land. Cox Rayner Architects has collaborated with Arup to design, engineer and manufacture this tower. A structural system where loads could be gradually transferred diagonally down to the land predominantly on one side of the site, avoiding the dock, has been devised.
Cox Rayner Architects' Jayson Blight defines the project as follows (Space Hero):
111 Eagle Street is a 44 level, 62,500 square metre office tower being constructed on Brisbane's waterfront between two renowned Harry Seidler towers. The 'organic-vertical' structure is derived from a need to transfer loads to one side of the site in order to avoid the loading dock and car park that serve the two existing buildings (either side). However, we also generated an architectural response to the two iconic Fig Trees (on Eagle/Creek St) that are intended to be physically linked by plaza to the site. At the top of the building this organic structure extends over the roof to form a planted canopy and terrace. The structure and other strategies such as gas-fired tri-generation and grey water recycling have earned the building 6 star Green Star V2 Design Rating.
© Cox Rayner Architects

Ambitious Energy Building System (EBS)
The EBS (Energy Building System) is one of the core elements of this project. It seems to be based on passive energy design, a system that Michael Rayner, Principal of Cox Rayner Architects defined in the framework of a conversation with Bill Dowzer (BVN), Philip Vivian (Bates Smart Pty Ltd), James Fitzpatrick (Fitzpratick and Partners) and Australian Design Review, in June 2010. Passive energy design is considered the most important for it enables change to the normal typology which technology do not do this, according to Rayner.
Energy savings, in the case of this 111 Eagle Street, are achieved through the use of high efficiency air conditioning and performance glazing in the facade. Cox Rayner Architects opted for a efficient light fittings, flexible lighting zones and maximizing daylight penetration to further reduce the energy demands of the building.  CO2 Emissions are reduced by the incorporation of a gas fired generator for on site power generation. Mostly saying, this building will be a self-feeder building (to say self-sufficient building) such as plants.
As Michael Weinstock pointed out "It is clear that the metabolic 'rate' of a building, and the relationship of the rate to the mass and form of the building will not only form a stable set of criteria for the evaluation of all buildings, but can also be inputs in the generative phase of design."
It appears that Cox Rayner Architects know natural metabolisms. Whatever, the architecture firm considers the importance of studying natural metabolism. Its study begins with its architecture, the spatial and material organisation of a system for capturing, transforming and transporting energy (Weinstock).

This design creates large, flowing and flexible internal spaces. Campus-style floor plates measure 1,350 to 1,500 square meters. These spaces and campus-style floor plates can be freely appropriated by users. They are equipped with lighting and air conditioning zones, and air quality from ventilation rates. The ceiling glass facade optimise both natural light and unobstructed river views for a best comfort, alertness, health and wellbeing.
© Cox Rayner Architects

Indoor environment quality was the target of this project. Efforts was made by choosing ventilation, which rates is 50% greater than standards. Air changes are optimized which ensure that recycling of toxins and pollutants in the air is minimized. This is made possible with the minimization of building materials containing Volatile Organic Compounds and the use of river heat rejection for air conditioning cooling as an alternative to cooling towers, showing that the high-rise structure is perfectly integrated in its environment.

As written above, this branching organic tower allows a maximum level of natural light and stunning panoramic views. This daylight penetration as well as glare control by way of automated blinds and access to views from large propositions of the floors improve the conditions for users.
© Cox Rayner Architects

Project Data
Project: 111 Eagle Street
Program: Office, utility facilities, and community facilities
Architect: Cox Rayner Architects
Structural engineer: Arup
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Total Floor Area: 62,500 sqm
Number of levels: 44
Completion Year: 2011

Images all © Cox Rayner Architects
Source: One One One Brisbane
Jayson Blight's quotation originally appeared on Space Hero.

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