GPT take some design cues from We Work

GPT take some design cues from We Work

26 May 2017

GPT’s Space & Co facility in Melbourne Central is expanding by another 1,400 square metres, an entire new floor, tripling their office footprint. The Australian Financial Review reports that GPT signed up architect BVN to design the area.

The expanded Space & Co will offer flexible private space with moveable walls that allow clients to expand and contract their footprint quickly. It is centred around a “glasshouse” — a meeting room that enhances the communal ethic of the space. GPT’s architect BVN picked up the concept while working out of WeWork offices in New York for the past two years.

“We have a room which has desking for four of us,” said BVN principal Bill Dowzer. “We’ve been having a lot of our Sydney team working with us regularly and we literally flex by the week. That’s the opportunity WeWork provide in terms of new space – that ability to flex without having to invest in the extra space.”

GPT’s head of flexible workspace solutions, Daniel Stiffe, said they used BVN to ensure what was created was a differentiated offering within the market.

Space & Co’s semi-private rooms have partitions that stop short of the ceiling and offer users the sense of being part of the coworking hub. These concepts borrow from the WeWork model, but the local business is tending towards a lower density, with a benchmark of eight square metres per user, Mr Stiffe said.

The seven-year-old WeWork could threaten traditional landlords. Co-working businesses say the New York giant’s arrival has expanded the market.

“WeWork helped us to become more focused, but we’re not having our strategy determined by WeWork,” said Brad Krauskopf, the founder of provider Hub Australia.

Hub used to focus on sole operators, freelancers and start-ups. Now they will target growing businesses and offer a greater level of amenity, Krauskopf says.

WeWork rents office space, or in some cases whole buildings, and offers tenants short-term and flexible space and a ready-made community to join.

“WeWork will find a lot more competition with landlords in Australia,” said Mr Dowzer. “They’re coming in quite aggressively but I do think it will be challenged in the Australian market at some point in time because of the agility of landlords.”

“We are very good at innovating and we have building owners thinking laterally about how to be flexible with their own products and offering, which I’m not seeing many building owners doing it here in the US,” Mr Dowzer said.