Bank of New Zealand HQ respects site's history and is set to stand the test of time
Joint design team Woods Bagot and Warren and Mahoney won a limited design competition to design the new headquarters of the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ). This premium grade office tower occupies a unique city block in the downtown area of Auckland's CBD. Comprising four levels of underground parking and seven levels of podium commercial office space, the main glass tower building rises behind the old façade of the historical seven-storey Jean Batten Building.
The Deloitte Centre is now Auckland's most advanced Environmentally Sustainable commercial building, the first high rise tower in New Zealand to achieve a 5 Star design rating with the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC), utilising double ventilated façade technology and rainwater harvesting amongst many of the sustainable initiatives integrated into this new building. New test methods of measuring planning efficiency were adopted, and informed the floorplate design process. Large podium floorplates are suitable for the single key tenant and smaller tower floors are aligned to the Auckland speculative commercial office market.
Garry Pellett, Head of Properties, Strategy and Operations at the Bank of New Zealand states the objectives of the building were that ‘it had to be something that was unique, which it is, it had to be transparent, which it is, and it had to suit the environment, which it does.'
Forming the cornerstone of the building design philosophy was the Client objective to achieve a 5 Green Star rating under the newly created NZGBC. The initial design brief had called for a more modest 4 Green Star rating, however, rapid shifts in the commercial market, and owner expectations, meant that the building was transformed to the higher specified 5 Green Star design during the early development phase. The project underwent stringent review by both New Zealand and Australian Green Building Councils and received a successful design rating of 5 Green Stars in October 2007.
Pellett states that 'Green Star in itself is not necessarily the outcome, it's building sustainably and providing the appropriate environment for our staff that is the real achievement, Green Star is a way of measuring that you've actually achieved it.'
BNZ chose to use their workplace not only as an instrument of encouragement and motivation for their people but as a demonstration of their commitment to environmental sustainability. This was considered to be imperative for a new generation of knowledge workers who are becoming harder to attract, have higher expectations and are keenly aware when corporate messages contradict the environment in which they work.
The Post-Relocation evaluation survey shows that: 9 in 10 employees agree that they enjoy working at 80 Queen Street; 83% are supportive of an ongoing green environment, and 73% of respondents understand the green features of 80 Queen Street.
Tim Pope, Managing Director of Brookfield Multiplex Construction (NZ) Limited, said that the Deloitte Centre is a significant achievement for all participants, delivered on time and on budget and achieving lofty environmental expectations. "Our objective with 80 Queen Street was to create a sustainable building, both in the business and environmental sense. We think that the result is an asset to Auckland and will stand the test of time."
Woods Bagot was engaged to create a design for the building that included environmentally sustainable design elements such as improved natural lighting to offices, low water usage fittings and extensive metering of energy and water usage. Winter gardens and six levels of interconnecting voids animate the podium spaces to deliver a workplace that enables cultural change and improved productivity. Users of the building are encouraged to walk or cycle to work by the provision of showers and changing facilities in the basement.
In 2010 Pope said to the people of New Zealand: "The building looks truly sensational. It is clearly and irrefutably the premier commercial property in NZ. The sky catcher, picture frames, hero beam suspended awning, multi-dimensional facades, stone reconciliation wall, JBB façade restoration, the highly transparent and striking entry lobby and the Fred Graham stainless steel anchor stones all work together to create something very special. We are very proud and I am sure you will be too."
(Project proposed 2004, construction started 2006.)
This building is a site specific response to the existing Auckland CBD context and to the history of this sacred Maori site. Located on what was once a futile river valley this site is significant to Maori people and the architectural concept was derived after consultation with local elders to respect the site's story lines.
This building embraces a material strategy to acknowledge the former location of the land/sea edge and to create an 'anchor' or Te Whatu to recall the former location of the harbour foreshore. A canopy cantilevers 15m at the entrance to create a double threshold to embrace a traditional Maori sculpture by an artist descended from the original inhabitants of the land.
Reaching to meet this commissioned sculpture is a reconciliation wall that springs from the restored colonial bank building. The suspended stone wall respects the scale and modulation of the restored building but also introduces a new quality to the street.
The podium has been scaled to the width of the adjacent streets and the height of the buildings on the opposite side of the street to respond to the variable scale of context of this city block and to ensure the special character of this heritage precinct in downtown Auckland is respected and revitalized. Many are identified as historic buildings of their period and the boundary alignment of such a collection of buildings becomes a significant urban design and streetscape determinant.
The overall massing of the building is comprised of vertical sliding gestures that emphasise the building height reference, the most important intersection in the city and playfully recall the waves that once layered and lapped the shores at this location.
The building defies the local planning code by avoiding a tower and podium massing. Planning gains of free area are rejected to ensure that the entire building is composed as a union of interlocked volumes which are eroded to announce the entrance. The massing signifies the main thoroughfare of Auckland at a city scale and also creates a legible entrance at the pedestrian scale.
Many Maori art forms are based upon natural harmonics which are closely aligned to the Golden Mean proportioning system. Accordingly, the building's massing and facade fenestration is proportioned to the Golden Mean. This; combined with the building material strategy narrating the 'story line' of the site, results in a building that is fit to place and possesses a genius loci evident at a number of scales.
The primary architectural move is to express the west facade that fronts the major boulevard of Auckland and also marks the passage of the former Waihorotiu stream. This triple skin facade is 'delaminated' from the main building to reinforce the existing Queen Street Flow of this important boulevard as well as recall the former passage of natural resources and trade along the once vibrant river valley. The DNA of the site is also evident from a city scale reading of this development.
The entire ground plane has been designed to be permeable, transparent and activated by retail and cafe uses. Boutique retail tenancies front Jean Batten Place and Fort Street and build the pedestrian character of these streets and reinforce the link from High Street to the Harbour areas. In this way the development reconnects the site to the surrounding city fabric and nearby harbour and is an important link between city and waterfront.
Sustainable strategies employed on this project include:
MANAGEMENT: 96% waste was recycled; 75% construction waste reused or diverted from landfill; extensive commissioning and building tuning.
INDOOR ENVIRONMENT QUALITY: external air provided at a rate of 100% above the NZGBC requirement; monitoring system to measure ambient indoor air quality; external views and natural light maximized through solar penetration studies; light levels and high frequency ballasts used to improve occupancy comfort; individually controllable zones; low ambient noise levels; paints/ adhesives with low or no VOC; low formaldehyde composite wood products used.
ENERGY: reduction in operational energy and CO2 emissions; high performance facade with latest low ‘E’ glass and triple glazing to reduce solar loading; twin facade on west elevation with automatic louvers to regulate airflow through the cavity; high efficiency variable speed drive chiller, pumps and fans that reduce electrical demand during peak periods; efficient T8 lamps with individual switches and small zone lighting control; metering and sub metering systems.
TRANSPORT: 25% car parking spaces designated for small cars; bicycle storage and shower facilities provided.
WATER: significantly reduced potable water usage to 6 litres/day/person; use of an efficient cooling tower; rainwater collection and recycling to flush WCs: waterless urinals, sensor taps and water efficient fittings; water meters installed for alarmed leak detection.
MATERIALS: dedicated storage for separation, collection and recycling of office waste; office fit-out fully integrated with base building works; PVC reduced in excess of 60% by cost; timber products from sustainable sources.
The floor plates were a pilot project for the creation of Woods Bagot's Floor Plate Assessment Tools that measure effectiveness for purpose and depth of floors to optimize daylight penetration. The quality and contrast of Auckland's daylight were assessed and quantified for office hours over a typical year. This research was used to optimise daylight penetration to the podium floors which were constrained to a low floor to floor height as they aligned with the floors of the restored heritage building. A significant 5% uplift in daylight penetration was achieved by core placement and profiling the ceiling at the perimeter to increase light penetration.
Similarly, the tower also realized a significant 5% uplift in daylight penetration, and the elimination of unusable light conditions, by employing these tools. This is served by smart lighting controls that enable the daylight uplift to translate into reducing energy consumption and a healthier workplace.
This building is a business enabler of cultural and social change. Floor plates of this size are uncommon in the CBD and this vertical campus enables the key tenant (BNZ) to co-locate several departments from other parts of the country. The divisional tribal lines of these work groups have been eroded by the creation of a floor plate that encourages collaboration, communication and interaction through serendipity.
BNZ understood that the move to this campus would enable them to transform their culture and they could use their workplace as a powerful tool of internal communication. Part of this story was the corporate social responsibility of the organization which has a broad ethical base including environmental sustainability.
Winter gardens and six levels of interconnecting voids animate the podium spaces to deliver a workplace that adds organizational value and improves productivity of their business. To most effectively accommodate different tenant work styles, the building shifts from a large floor plate central core building at podium levels to an offset/end core in smaller floors in the tower. This is achieved while also avoiding any structural transfers.