New Zealand Commercial Design Trends Series NZ Commercial Design Trends Vol. 30/9 - Page 40

Project Grant Thornton House podium Location: Wellington Architect: Athfield Architects LIFE BLOOD Boasting a contemporary profile and transparent, engaging aesthetic, the reinvented Grant Thornton House opens up to shoppers at street level Historically, Wellington grew up as a city of public servants, not shoppers, and impersonal streets were home to grey suits and little else. Decades on, the capital has a pedestrian life to rival New York – bustling, vivacious, and ready to spend. To further this trend, the Wellington City Council (WCC) has designated some thoroughfares in the capital as premier, as noted in the WCC Public Space Design Manual: “Premier streets are the spine of the central city network. They carry a high pedestrian volume, with comparatively low traffic movement. The interface on these streets tends to be characterised by small unit, ground-floor shops.” Lambton Quay, the golden mile of Wellington retail, is one such premier street named in the document. Taking a key position on the corner of Lambton Quay and Featherston St, the existing ANZ Podium and Tower was a purpose-built banking head office designed in the ’80s. However, despite its location, the building added little but mirrored glass and a toilet hub to the heart of the CBD. A transformation of this landmark building, renamed Grant Thornton House, has made the tower’s 13 floors of office space more accessible, and so more attractive, to tenants. It has also brought the podium to life from the ground up. The podium redevelopment was undertaken by Athfield Architects. Project architect Neil Drummond says several elements were addressed. “We created a new office entry from Featherston St, replacing the old corner entrance with one halfway along the building. The relocation made this access more prominent, which was part of the brief from the building owner, Willis Bond & Co. “The new doorway connects through to the Lambton Quay entrance, establishing a spacious, light pedestrian cross-link between the two. This facilitates movement through the building, and provides improved access into the tower lobby, also upgraded, and the tower itself.” The open lobby, at the heart of the cross-link, features a panelised system of full height, stainless Before Preceding pages, below left, and right:The curving glass nose of the podium of Grant Thornton House – previously the ANZ Podium and Tower – fills out a premium retail corner that once accommodated a block of public toilets (below left). This was one of several changes to the building to utilise this key shopping area in the capital. A new horizontal canopy turns upwards to signal the entrances. This carries the naming tenant’s signage. Below:Before-and-after floor plans show how the foyer now snakes thro ugh from one side of the triangular block to the other, with the lobby of the refurbished tower in the middle. After Before 38 SEARCH | SAVE | SHARE AT