Dezeen Magazine

Woods Bagot lines American Australian Association HQ with oak battens

The American Australian Association has opened a headquarters in New York City, with interiors by architecture firm Woods Bagot designed to offer flexible spaces for events.

The 9,450-square-foot (878 square metres) space at 600 Third Avenue is the first location in the city for the American Australian Association (AAA), a non-profit organisation dedicated to strengthening ties and collaboration between Australia and the US.

Seating area in front of large windows facing NYC skyline
A large, flexible space allows the AAA to host a variety of events and activities

Close to both the United Nations and the Australian Consulate-General, the headquarters is intended to promote Australian-American relations in NYC by hosting a variety of discussions, performances, exhibitions, networking receptions and more.

Woods Bagot – which was founded in Adelaide and has offices globally – aimed at "melding the spirit of Australia with the corporate culture of New York" with the project, according to CEO, Nik Karalis. "It's a stylish, welcoming environment created to bring people from both countries closer together," he added.

Workstation/bar in front of large windows
Moveable dual-purpose furniture created for the space includes a workstation that doubles as a bar

To accommodate such varied activities, a large events space was left open to be as flexible as possible while incorporating movable dual-purpose furniture and fittings.

A custom mobile island acts as both a work surface and a bar, and counters along the windows can also become serving areas for food and drinks.

Large open space with batten-wrapped columns
The ceiling structure was left exposed, while white oak battens wrap the columns

Located on a high floor, the space benefits from sweeping views of the skyline through unobstructed expanses of glass.

The ceiling structure was left exposed to maximise the height in the space, while columns were wrapped in vertical white oak batten system by wood cladding manufacturer Sculptform – for which Woods Bagot created an immersive showroom in Melbourne in 2001.

Similar battening lines the lobby and circulation spaces, with curved profiles creating sculptural frames around a golden bar back and over a pair of sliding doors with frosted glass panels.

The AAA headquarters also houses offices for employees and a boardroom for private meetings.

Frosted-glass sliding doors surrounded by vertical oak battens
The white oak battens also line the lobby area, surrounding the doorway to the boardroom

To commemorate the opening of the space in June 2023, the organisation commissioned a custom artwork from the APY Art Centre Collective.

The colourful painting was created by eight Indigenous women artists based in Adelaide and hangs in the bar area.

Corridor enveloped in oak battens
Some of the battens feature curved profiles to create sculptural shapes

Woods Bagot works on projects worldwide, and its current high-profile projects underway range from the Aboriginal Art and Cultures Centre in Adelaide to an extension of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

Also in the US, principal Krista Ninivaggi recently completed the lobby design for the supertall Brooklyn Tower.

The photography is by Adrian Gaut.

More images

Woods Bagot American Australian Association
Woods Bagot American Australian Association
Woods Bagot American Australian Association
Woods Bagot American Australian Association
Woods Bagot American Australian Association
Woods Bagot American Australian Association
Woods Bagot American Australian Association