Local snapshot – Auckland

At Woods Bagot, we pride ourselves on local knowledge with a global outlook. We know each of our studio’s cities like the back of our hands, and we love to share what makes them special. 

 

Since opening our doors in January 2021, we’ve been describing our Auckland studio as a 150-year-old start-up. Being a small team, our studio is defined by its people. With the support of the global studio, it’s an exciting proposition to establish and nurture W-B’s continued presence and growth in the New Zealand market over the next formative few years. Our New Zealand project work is diverse and includes many of the country’s significant, city defining projects over the last decade. 

Andy Gentry

Here’s Auckland through the eyes of Studio Chair, Andy Gentry.

 

Andy heads up some of Woods Bagot’s largest, most complex projects, often leading collaborative, joint venture design teams. With proven experience in managing large-scale, multifaceted projects, Andy has led major developments such as Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (for JV architects Woods Bagot and NH Architecture), and has led the Melbourne studio for the last five years. He is highly knowledgeable across all areas of project responsibility, coordinating client and stakeholder requirements, whilst ensuring design integrity is maintained.

Love it or not, you can’t miss the Sky Tower from almost anywhere you might be in the city. An iconic landmark on Auckland’s skyline due to its 328m height and distinctive design, travelers and locals alike use the building’s easily spotted silhouette to navigate the city.

The historical facade of Quay Buildings, home to W-B’s Auckland studio located in the dynamic waterfront precinct of Britomart.

One of my favourite buildings to photograph, at any time of day or night, is Hotel Britomart by Cheshire Architects. I’m drawn in by the contemporary expression of the brickwork façade and the honest feel of the untreated concrete and timber structure internally, left to shine in its natural form.

There are layers of history in our Auckland studio. The building’s raw honesty of material, true warehouse charm and general sense of bustling liveliness make it a wonderful environment to work in.

Mother of Pearl counter detail from Amano, my go-to coffee spot. Located on the ground floor of our studio, picking up a coffee from here is a much-loved part of my daily morning ritual.

“Shall we meet at Amano?” is the first question we ask when scheduling a meeting with clients.

Amano Bakery Cafe: Our clients love the locally sourced produce, great service and skillfully made coffee as much as we do.

This is an artwork by Lonnie Hutchinson called Aroha ki te Ora (Lover of Life), located at Britomart. The artwork tells the Ngāi Tahu creation story, which features not only Papatūānuku, the earth, and Takaroa, the progenitor of the oceans, but a third protagonist, Rakinui. In the Kai Tahu creation story, Papatūānuku, the earth, was married to Takaroa, the progenitor of the oceans. While Takaroa was away, Papatūānuku got together with his nephew Rakinui. They had many children, including Rehua, Tāne and the great voyager Paikea. When Takaroa returned and discovered the union between his wife and nephew, a battle ensued in which Rakinui was wounded.

Sky Tower by night (no filter!) Federal Street Tower— our in-progress project with ICD Property, Peddlethorp and Landlab— will neighbour this building in the future Auckland skyline.

Opposite the studio is the Port of Auckland’s distinctive, red-painted wrought iron fence, ornamental gates and lamps. Built in several stages between 1913 and 1923, The installation of the gates and first sections of fence coincided with one of the most turbulent periods of Auckland’s history – the waterfront strike of 1913. Today, the crimson fence is an integral part of the Red Fence Heritage Walk, an hour long walk that pauses at points of historic interest in Auckland’s rise to the magnificent city it is today.

Commercial Bay, a W-B and WAM project, has been open for a while now. It’s fully leased, and we love the food precinct on level three which was designed by long-time W-B collaborators NH Architecture.

A 35mm film image of Sky Tower. A fun fact about Sky Tower is that Woods Bagot are currently collaborating with Moller Architects, the designers of the tower, on the New Zealand International Convention Centre (NZICC) along with WAM.

These shipping containers are a free pop up public library located on the waterfront at Viaduct Harbour.

Talk to Andy Gentry about what’s next for our Auckland studio.

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