New Zealand’s largest mass timber office building set to be built in Tauranga’s city centre

Tauranga City Council’s new office building at 90 Devonport Road is set to be the largest mass timber office building in New Zealand and will target a net zero carbon footprint for the building’s construction process.

Property development and investment company Willis Bond has worked alongside Warren and Mahoney architects to design the 10,000sqm building, which uses engineered timber in place of most traditional concrete and steel elements, with a view of reducing embodied carbon – carbon emitted through the manufacturing, transportation and installation of building materials and components – to its lowest possible point. The building also features rainwater harvesting, EV charging and facilities that encourage active transport options. The building is targeting the highest 6 Green Star – Design and As-Built NZv1.0 – Design Review Rating, demonstrating world leadership in sustainability.

Willis Bond Executive Chair Mark McGuinness says the project sets a new precedent for innovative and sustainable building design in New Zealand.

“Our goal is always to keep as much carbon in the ground as possible and to walk with a light footprint. What makes this project unique is the scale at which we’ve been able to achieve this.”

Tauranga City Council last year confirmed the leased building would accommodate all council administration staff under one roof. This was followed by Council’s recent approval of the Refreshed Civic Masterplan, Te Manawataki O Te Papa, which will see the development of a new Civic Whare (public meeting house), Library, Museum and Exhibition space in Tauranga’s city centre over the next eight years.

Commission Chair Anne Tolley says sustainable outcomes were front of mind when considering a new, purpose-built office space.

“We wanted to push the boundaries to design a wholly-sustainable, future-focused workplace which maximises the use of natural materials, such as the exposed timber columns which celebrate the uniqueness of the building,” says Anne.

“Willis Bond and Council staff continue to work with mana whenua to ensure that mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge systems) principles are incorporated and add to the look and feel of the building.

“This will be our home for at least the duration of the 15-year lease, so it’s important that we get it right and create a facility that both speaks to its Tauranga Moana origins and provides a welcoming and people-friendly space for our staff and the community.”

Anne says the ability to bring all administration staff together in one building will have significant cost and efficiency benefits, while the long-term lease arrangement means there will be no construction outlay, which will also help the council stay within its required debt limits.

Construction of the building is expected to commence in late-2022 and be completed before the end of 2024.

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