Few projects are like the atrium refurbishment in the Dexus-owned and managed building at 6-8 Nicholson Street, East Melbourne.

A challenge to the untrained eye, this five-storey atrium and skylight upgrade posed all kinds of questions for Concept Black Architects. Set over five floors, the extensive work required inside the building and upon the roof required a lot of meticulous planning and working through.

The installation for the atrium at 8 Nicholson tells an Australian story as you move upward through the building. From arrival, it goes from the beach to the land, through woods and on to the city. Appropriately everything is local; all materials are sourced locally, largely recycled and treated nearby. In the central levels, a colossal mural dominates the view. Hand-painted by local street artists, it stretches nearly 20 metres across.

The build included multiple and significant building maintenance and alteration projects, including:

  • The replacement of existing Perspex pyramid skylights with double-glazed, trafficable skylights, including new structural steel gutters and powder-coated flashing.
  • All existing Aluminium Composite Panels (ACP) from the atrium were removed and replaced with new solid aluminium panels.
  • Removal of existing sub floors from No. 4 mezzanine floors and install new to suit new joinery
  • New sculptural joinery installation to 4 No mezzanine floors with various themes – Uluru(L4), 12 Apostles (L3), Bush (L2) and Cityscape (L1).
  • Joinery to include faux vegetation and landscaping elements
  • Large custom painted mural on ground floor approx. 9m long & 6.5m high.
  • Hand-painted Lyre Bird mural on L2 fascia
  • New structural steel supports under the L1 mezzanine floor (above existing bathrooms) to increase the size of the mezzanine floor from 35m2 to 81m2
  • Scaffold the entire atrium to enable access to remove ACP panelling and install new (up to 26m high x 9m wide x 20m long)