Amid the gloom of the commercial property markets, a handful of office projects shone through at the Best design awards announced in Auckland last Friday night.
The big winner in commercial property at the 21st Best design awards were architectural firm Jasmax & design director Tim Hooson, who scored one gold & 2 silver awards, including gold for Jasmax’s own new premises.
The other gold medal winner in the offices & workplace environments category was RTA Studio’s design for retail advertising agency .99’s offices in a newly upgraded warehouse in Grey Lynn. The brief was for a “non wanky” office & a relaxed environment for clients, mixed with quality & plentiful meeting areas along with flexible studio areas.
Design director Richard Naish used everyday retail materials to form the space, including a reception desk built from burnished steel plate with a backdrop of a laser-cut cardboard wall formed through the use of a BMI (Building Information Modelling) programme.
The judges said the project displayed “innovative use of digital technologies to create a strong & bold idea. The planning & detailing is clear & simple, and delivered with consistency throughout the space.”
For Jasmax’s premises in Parnell, Mr Hooson said the key objective was “not just to design a new internal space, but to explore how the project could truly influence the architectural fabric of Auckland’s urban environment”. Jasmax also wanted to set an environmental benchmark.
The judges said the result was “a highly energised environment that encourages free expression and portrays the mantra of organised chaos of creative learning environments.”
The NZI Centre on Fanshawe St– also by Jasmax and also with Tim Hooson as design director – was one of 3 buildings to win silver.
After its staff were located in tower accommodation, NZI owner IAG wanted to be the sole occupier of a building, to suit its contemporary ideals. Part of the brief was to achieve the New Zealand Green Building Council 4 star green rating.
The space needed to express the value of many brands, including NZI & State Insurance, while also expressing the overall feeling of the company as having one culture & one purpose. Quiet spaces were situated at the north & south ends of the floorplate to maximise exposure to views and lessen heat & glare. Spaces were situated so people could have access to 75% of the meeting areas by going up or down one flight of stairs.
Mr Hooson’s third project was the Westpac office on Takutai Square, in Auckland’s regenerated Britomart, which won silver. The Westpac complex is a substantially new building, with the historic Charter House building (originally the R&E Tingey building) as a fully integrated element that anchors the south-east corner of the precinct.
The site straddles the original foreshore & cliff of Britomart Point and turn-of-the-century images, boardwalk bridges & the internal stair insertions, connecting through the historic café space, are designed to capture the history.
Westpac’s site choice was in part to locate its new premises near a major transport terminus, which helped the transition of staff from suburban offices.
The one non-Auckland building among these design winners was New Zealand Central in Shanghai, designed for NZ Trade & Enterprise as a home away from home for New Zealanders doing business in Shanghai. The brief was to create a space that would tell a story to the Chinese visitors – to show that while New Zealanders are outgoing, resourceful & open to the world around us, we have a firm foundation of integrity & a sense of guardianship for our own little corner of the world.
New Zealand Central is on the edge of the prestigious Xintiandi district. Design was by a consortium of Warren & Mahoney, Story Inc and Coffey Projects, with Graeme Finlay as design director.
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Awards information & photos supplied
, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.