Brisbane Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages

Built / Workplace Interiors

Brisbane Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages
Client: The Department of Justice
Size 2,500sqm
Stage: Complete

Plus Architecture’s design of the new premises of the Brisbane Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages (RBDM) has created an agile workplace of quiet sophistication, matched with a broad range of ancillary services from ceremony rooms to customer service facilities.

Formerly occupying a heritage-listed building in Brisbane’s central business district, plans for a new casino precinct in George Street triggered a move. “RBDM’s former home was never fit for purpose. It had evolved over time and needed an upgrade,” says interior designer Rhea Jeffery, Associate with Plus Architecture’s Brisbane studio.

The new premise is on the 32nd floor of the recently completed 180 Ann St building. This time, there was an opportunity to work with a virtually empty shell, benefiting from unimpeded views of the city out to Moreton Bay. As well as the extended views, the new address boasts an impressive floor plate of approximately 2,500 square metres, which accommodates the whole office on the same floor for the first time.

Plus Architecture’s brief from the Queensland Government’s Department of Justice was for a timeless, memorable and elegant interior, providing an experience worthy of one of the most important days in someone’s life. Those arriving at level 32 could easily be mistaken for thinking they had arrived at a hotel lobby. The foyer features a marble reception counter, framed by wall panelling embossed with faded text of the life, death and stories of prominent Queenslanders.

This office fit out provided several unique challenges not often seen in workplace design. Plus Architecture was required to provide for a number of functions; two separate ceremonial rooms to allow marriages to be performed and a service centre for certificate registration, together with sufficient office space to accommodate RBDM’s 120 staff. “It was important to ensure the planning was right, to provide appropriate separation and connection to perform the various functions,” says Jeffery, pointing out the timber-battened walls/doors on either side of reception that lead one’s eye into the next space. The two ceremonial spaces, found beyond these timber-battened walls, have a different sensibility to the areas where people acquire their registry certificates.

In the ceremonial rooms there are warm tones, with an extensive use of timber and upholstered wall panels. Each ceremony room has its own unique alter backdrop. Calacatta marble with brass detailing features in the main ceremony room while a bronzed laser cut and backlit metal screen features in the second, more intimate ceremony space. To signify this special occasion, a feature light fitting of two entwined antique gold rings was selected.

Plus Architecture also guided the client in their transition of 120 staff to an agile workplace. The office moved from a paper heavy tenancy to an open plan, paper-light environment – lockers replaced personal desk storage and a variety of secondary workspaces were implemented to allow staff to work collaboratively or privately across the office. Since transitioning to this contemporary office space there has been a new vibrancy to the office work culture.

The time frame given to complete this fit-out was also relatively short, with a six month deadline from start to occupation. Plus worked closely and collaboratively with the client and the builder to ensure that the best outcomes and the highest quality was maintained throughout the project.