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Dealing with levels of complexity not seen before in New Zealand, Auckland’s newest commercial tower is designed to re-establish a central place for trade and hospitality in the city’s downtown.
Just how do you build a 180-metre tower and make it accessible across multiple layers of interaction at both a human scale and a city scale and thus establish a seamless extension of the city fabric?
Situated along the waterfront near Waitemata Harbour, this 42,000-square-meter commercial tower is a definitive figure in the seaside city’s skyline. Taking advantage of the surrounding context, the slender, contemporary glass covering affixed to the primary office volume wrapped in a steel diagrid structure and transparent façade offers panoramic views to the harbor and surrounding urban environment.
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Designed in collaboration with local architect Warren & Mahoney, the building provides gathering spaces to further the city’s connectivity. The ground level lobby, which is built into the encompassing podium-level retail space, is influenced by local topography and utilizes materials such as wood and travertine. Its exterior is made up of floor-to-ceiling glass panels, providing views to the city while integrated luminaires within the ceiling plane help to illuminate the interiors at night. An escalator links the entry lobby to the ‘sky lobby’, or a secondary space with access to a roof terrace on top of the podium. High-rise levels are taller than the current tallest building on the block, the HSBC Building, and thus provide open, northern-facing views towards the harbor.
A new underground City Rail Link location—an addition to the ongoing commitment to expand and increase the country’s public rail system—takes an unconventional form as two relatively shallow, curved tunnels traveling underneath the tower. This infrastructure determined the structural engineer’s placement of the tower’s foundational steel columns.
Because this configuration also influenced the size and form of the tower, its 10 elevators are assembled into the side core of the building, which allow for larger, open floor plates as opposed to traditionally being installed within the central core of a tower—which would take up much more internal space. All of the elevators are flanked in glass for riders to look over the city.
Richard Hilder, Precinct CFO and Sustainability Lead of New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC) says “We think our 5 Green Star rating makes the PwC Tower a more desirable place to work and the fact that it’s 100% leased reflects this. More people want to work in high-rated Green Star buildings with the amenities they provide.”