Blue sky think­ing

Auck­land’s first six Green Star-rated build­ing is just about to open its doors.

Element - - Architecture - By Patrick Rose

Of­fice dwellers of the fu­ture won’t have the pasty flu­o­res­cent-light tan and the phys­iog­nomies adapted to breath­ing only air con­di­tioned cli­mates. The of­fice build­ings of the fu­ture will use nat­u­ral light and clev­erly ven­ti­lated air flow to bring work­ers closer to the rhythms of the day and make them hap­pier and health­ier.

Af­ter 14 years of on-and-off plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment, a new build­ing in Par­nell prom­ises to be an ex­am­ple of the fu­ture of en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious com­mer­cial de­vel­op­ment. The Geyser build­ing on Par­nell road is Auck­land’s first 6 Green Star rated eco build­ing and rep­re­sents a mile­stone for sus­tain­able ar­chi­tec­ture and a bench­mark for the in­dus­try.

“It’s a huge leap for­ward for Par­nell, but it’s a huge leap for­ward for the whole coun­try,” says Marco Creemers, Sam­son Cor­po­ra­tion gen­eral man­ager, who over­saw the new de­vel­op­ment. “It’s a com­mon sense thing re­ally; you’re spend­ing so much money on a big as­set, you want to make sure that it’s go­ing to be here for a long time and that it’s go­ing to be re­ally ef­fi­cient.”

Mr Creemers says the build­ings of­fer ten­ants a stylish space that will have only one-third of the over­heads. En­vi­ron­men­tal­lyfriendly de­sign el­e­ments like the court­yard for nat­u­ral light, the so­lar pan­els for hot wa­ter and the nat­u­ral ven­ti­la­tion to re­place air­con­di­tion­ing prom­ise to make the space a more af­ford­able choice in the long term.

With seven re­tail or res­tau­rant spa­ces on the ground level and 5000m2 of of­fice space spread over five build­ings, the new com­plex is fill­ing up prior to the open­ing on Septem­ber 1. Creemers’ com­pany was be­hind the Iron Bank build­ing on K road, which re­ceived a 5 Green Star rat­ing from NZGBC. He says that go­ing green usu­ally means 10% added build­ing costs, but those are re­couped be­tween 4 – 7 years af­ter com­ple­tion from en­ergy sav­ings.

One of the most dis­tinc­tive fea­tures of the Geyser build­ing is the ex­te­rior com­posed of thou­sands of glass pan­els that open to cre­ate air­flow. The two lay­ers of glass cre­ate chan­nels for ven­ti­la­tion or buf­fers from the cold winds to keep it warm.

De­spite the ul­tra-mod­ern feel of the com­plex, its en­ergy-sav­ing de­sign el­e­ments are sim­ple and proven tech­nolo­gies.

“None of the innovations at Geyser or overly com­plex or pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive,” says Ms Cut­ler. “This is about cre­at­ing a ther­mal en­ve­lope and ther­mal ven­ti­la­tion. Sim­i­lar sys­tems could eas­ily be adopted by other projects across the coun­try.”

The Geyser build­ing is lo­cated at 100 Par­nell Rd.

“None of the innovations at Geyser or overly com­plex or pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive.”

Pho­tos: Ted Baghurst

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