11 Aug 22

Woods Bagot receives approval for New Zealand’s skyline-shaping residential tower

Designed by Woods Bagot in partnership with Peddlethorp, 65 Federal St, the new high-rise tower approved for central Auckland, will reshape the city’s skyline and change the way people live in the inner city.

Resource consent for the tower was granted by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) under the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast Track Consenting) Act 2020 following an extensive consultation period with Auckland Council and mana whenua.

The 183-metre high, 55-level residential tower is being delivered by Melbourne-based property developer, ICD Property.

It will feature 357 residential apartments and a 1,000m2 ground floor Market Place to activate the streetscape and serve as a community space.

Peter Miglis, Woods Bagot Principal and Design Leader, said key to the design of 65 Federal St was understanding the future direction of Auckland’s make up, including the redevelopment of Federal Street as a pedestrian laneway.

“The building sits gracefully within the skyline’s silhouette and the internal experience has been carefully curated to suit the city’s needs,” said Miglis.

“Sightlines to culturally significant landmarks, the height of the streetscape, pedestrian connectivity to key destinations and Auckland’s weather have all been carefully considered in order to create a structure that could only sit within this particular skyline.”

ICD Property Managing Director Matt Khoo said it took a collaborative approach with Council to ensure 65 Federal St delivered positive benefits for the city rather than being restricted by planning guidelines.

“The aspirational design, thinking, and consultation that went into the project is a blueprint for better urban design outcomes for not only New Zealand but buildings and communities globally,” said Khoo.

The building goes beyond typical plot ratio and height restriction guidelines. A 29:1 plot ratio – the total floor area of a building compared to the area of its site – is significantly greater than the traditional 13:1 ratio on inner city sites.

The unprecedented 29:1 plot ratio maximises the potential of the site, creating greater community benefits including enhancing the Federal St area and supporting the significant need for housing supply.

The design also notably respects the Sky Tower, the primary marker locating the city centre, by protecting views to the horizon from the Sky Tower’s observation deck.

Auckland Mayor, Phil Goff, said he welcomed the innovative approach to the design of the building.

“It will be a landmark for the city. It is a huge investment, which is a statement of investor confidence in Auckland. It will provide hundreds of jobs during and beyond construction,” he said.

The tower will also be a catalyst for change in the Federal St precinct with features such as the ground level Market Place playing a significant role in bringing the streets and laneways of the area alive. It also supports the growth of the city, by providing 357 new homes, and will be an impressive addition to the Auckland skyline.

Peter Miglis explained that, despite its height, it is 65 Federal Street’s generosity in spirit to the streetscape and public realm that is a centrepiece of the design.

“We know that the skyline defines a city’s identity, yet it is the streets – where people inhabit the city – that define its character,” said Miglis.

“The transformation of Federal Street and the tower’s proximity to the City Rail Link means it will become a public destination, acting as a guiding presence for Auckland, a lighthouse for the public to orientate themselves in the CBD.”

A communal area on level 38 will have wide city views, a large lounge area, and a commercial kitchen to cater for family gatherings and community events, while level 8 features a health and wellness centre including a gym, pool, and other substantial amenities.

Market Place is set to become home to an array of restaurants, cafes and outlets selling local produce, as well as being used for everything from cultural festivals through to cooking classes.

“We designed the ground floor level to be a gathering place for everyone from the residents of the tower and those in neighbouring apartments and businesses, to members of the public in general.”

Undertaking a series of collaborative workshops with local kiwi groups has inspired 65 Federal St’s building design to include key elements of New Zealand’s unique natural landscape, geology, and fauna.

Recognising the site’s stunning natural surrounds in Tāmaki Makaurau, the building’s facade is inspired by the diversity and texture of New Zealand’s flora with references to textures and colours native to Aotearoa.

Peddlethorp Director, Manuel Diaz, says the collaborative design approach adopted by the ICD Property design team and mana whenua was crucial to a successful design outcome.

“A building of this scale and position will not only redefine the skyline but will also act as a catalyst for further revitalisation of the urban realm. The creation of communities close to city amenities, public transport and places of work will continue to recognise the central city as a great place for families to raise our tamariki.”

Khoo says ICD Property could not be prouder to have the contribution of local iwi on the project since it began and looks forward to continuing to work alongside them during the project’s development.

“The involvement of mana whenua was essential to ensure the design of the tower addresses iwi input in a genuine and respectful manner. We believe we have created an elegant and beautiful design that everyone will enjoy.”

Alongside Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre, 65 Federal Street is a keystone of Woods Bagot’s growing presence in New Zealand. The Auckland Studio, the global firm’s latest, has expanded to 20-strong staff since its inception last year.

Woods Bagot Associate Principal, Blair Parkinson believes the tower represents a significant and serious contribution to the iconography of New Zealand.

“Federal Street has been designed for Auckland, intrinsically informed by its unique context at both a macro and micro scale. It’s simplicity and confidence will speak to the city and become part of Auckland’s unique identity,” says Parkinson.

Construction of the tower is scheduled to start in March 2024 with work completed in mid-2027.

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Tili Bensley-Nettheim
Content and Communications Specialist (Australia & New Zealand)

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