Iconic slice of Auckland’s CBD heritage wins top commercial property award at 2023 Property Industry Awards

Auckland, 23 June 2023: 1 Albert Street, the aerofoil building which has for decades held a captivating position in Auckland’s CBD, has been awarded a top prize at the Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards 2023 winning the RCP Commercial Office Property Award Excellence and Best in Category.

Situated at the intersection of Albert Street and Customs Street West on a 1,215sqm site, the building formerly known as West Plaza was originally completed in 1972 – a sleek and futuristic development for its time.

Over the years it had undergone several renovations, when in 2018 owner, Auckland Real Estate, decided it needed an overhaul to meet demand for flexible work spaces and to attract new businesses by redeveloping the podium and lower levels of the building.

The project team including Ignite Architects, worked with the original architect Neville Price, and heritage consultant, Plan. Heritage, to reinstate the original vision of the building. This involved stripping back layers that were added in the following decades and redeveloping to align with the original pared-back style.

Andrew Evans, chief judge, Property Industry Awards said, “The team stripped back the layers added in the 1980s and 1990s, creating a design solution that adds value whilst celebrating the building’s true simplicity.

“The primary design response relocates the main entrance from Albert Street to Fanshawe Street, establishing a prominent new lobby, with the dramatic end walls of the tower re-ground. Ultimately the original horizontal podium line has been reinstated.  1 Albert’s rejuvenation supports the return of vibrancy to the precinct and retains an iconic piece of Tamaki Makaurau’s CBD heritage.”

The team was committed to the modernisation of the building without compromising the original concept design principles. The result celebrates classical elegance in Auckland’s CBD.

The project was delivered in four stages: the base-build, interior fit-out, west extension and upper-level office refurbishments, and was not without its challenges.

The global pandemic, a building fire and the number of building consents — 18 in total— added a lot of complexity to the project.

To minimise demolition, the project retained as many defining features as possible, including parts of the podium terraces and the western exterior spiral staircase. The team carefully stitched the new structure into the existing one, resulting in a 100 per cent New Building Standard (NBS) rating for seismic resilience.

To breathe new life into the podium, the project team formed a glass pod enclosure over the lobby escalators, while navigating the existing canopy scoops. The new construction naturally connects to the scoops, emphasising and honouring their distinctive shape and form.

On level one, business members club, Alberts, offers access to shared working spaces including meeting rooms, working zones and social and breakout areas. The extension also has end-of-trip facilities, secure access control and CCTV monitoring.

Environmental design principles were at the fore, not least because this project involved an existing building. To understand the impact of the refurbishment versus a new build, a carbon assessment was undertaken by engineering consultants. They found refurbishing was the greener option.

Constructing a brand-new similar sized building would have had a global warming impact two-and-a-half times greater than refurbishing when calculated over the building’s 60-year life span.

The Property Industry Awards, now in their 24th year, celebrate and showcase superior examples of iconic projects in property development and investment across a broad range of sectors and design disciplines, recognising outstanding projects, developments and refurbishments.

Property Council chief executive Leonie Freeman added, “The team behind 1 Albert Street have delivered a project that gives a new lease of life to this prominent building, adding huge value as an investment, to its inhabitants and to the wider precinct.”


RCP Commercial Office Property Award
Excellence and Best in Category: 1 Albert Street, Auckland
  • Submitted by Quattro, DCF and Ignite Architects
  • Owner/developer: Auckland Real Estate
  • Construction: Complete Construction, Cook Brothers
  • Architect: Ignite Architects
  • Service/mechanical engineer: Agile Engineers
  • Structural engineer: Stephen Mitchell Engineers
  • Building enclosure engineer: Oculus
  • Quantity surveyor: Rawlinsons
  • Project manager: DCF Management
  • Other consultants: CTRL (Commercial Interior designer), Crossfire
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