New Zealand Commercial Design Trends Series NZ Commercial Design Trends Vol. 30/9 - Page 42

steel, American oak timber and frosted backlit glass walls, with slender angled lines of niche lighting. These play across the ceiling and down the walls, echoing the dog-leg shape of the foyer, and the newly introduced ‘folded’ exterior signage. Reconfiguring the former single ground-floor tenancy into multiple tenancies was central to the project. Cold, impersonal reflective glass was replaced with vibrant retail opportunities. New frameless clear glazed shopfronts at street level are the maximum height possible, and the removal of the out-of-date mirror glass allows effective daylight penetration to the majority of the floorplate. There are nine tenancies in all, spread around all three sides of the block at ground level, with the existing renovated offices above. “The podium’s upper-level facade, composed of steel transoms and mirror glass, was retained in the redesign,” says Drummond. “However, we sought to create a distinction between this heavy aesthetic and the inviting new boutique shop frontages introduced below. To achieve this, a new horizontal canopy draws a line between the two different treatments – as if between two time frames – and this runs right around the building.” Providing high visibility to the tower’s entry points on both Lambton Quay and Featherston St, the canopy turns up 90° at these junctures. These upright canopy elements also help break up the horizontality of the streetscape, says Drummond. These folded elements sit just clear of the level one facade. At the same time, the canopy maintains pedestrian weather protection with a continuous cantilevered glass lid that connects to the existing facade. “Perhaps the most dramatic structural work undertaken was the twin two-storey corner frameless glass extensions, one at the corner of Grey and Featherston Streets and the other at the Lambton Quay bullnose, previously home to the toilet hub,” says the architect. Designed to meet the current code loading and extend the transparent vernacular of the reworked ground-floor facade, these elements are underpinned by new lightweight steel support structures. “In another liberating move, the rounded public toilet block on the prominent Lambton Quay corner was relocated to the corner of Grey St, on the shortest side of the triangular block, downplaying its presence,” says Drummond. The quieter Grey St is classed by the WCC manual as a ‘Special Street and Shared Space’, so this amenity was appropriate here. The demolition and relocation of the existing block, in a highly populated retail precinct and bus route with myriad trolley wires, required careful consideration of noise, dust and health and safety issues, including heavy machinery access to the site. Before 40 SEARCH | SAVE | SHARE AT These pages:The corner of Featherston and Grey Streets was given a two-level addition in keeping with the new street frontages. White tiles signal the new public toilet amenity.