Victoria Legal Aid's new open plan offices by Gray Puksand and Shape

The new Melbourne CBD offices for Victoria Legal Aid built by Shape and designed by Gray Puksand has brought together around 550 Victoria Legal Aid workers from various CBD locations under one roof which marks a desired cultural transformation and an opportunity for teams to work better through proximity.

The new office features a modern open-plan space designed to offer a more welcoming environment for both clients and staff. Vibrant cafe-style spaces, collaborative work areas, quiet zones, meeting ‘cubbies’ and booths have replaced walled offices and corridors. More formal meeting rooms are provided for when client confidentiality and privacy is required.

The office’s focal point is a central 10-storey glass atrium with a stairway between floors. Health and staff well-being were prime considerations with the addition of standing desks, access to two roof decks and plenty of natural light filling the office.

Shape Australia CEO Peter Marix-Evans says it has been an exciting project to be involved in for a client boldly embracing significant workplace change. “Australia is leading the world in its willingness to radically alter the traditions of the legal fraternity and transition to open plan offices where transparency is balanced by sensitivity.”

“We wanted to give staff the flexibility to step away from their desks during sensitive calls, and opportunities to connect with colleagues with different skills who they may not see but could help them to better help our clients,” says Bevan Warner, VLA managing director. “It was also important to create an environment that is warm but professional for our staff working in the high-pressure environment of the justice system every day.”

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