Project of the Month | Commanding Attention
The site of the old King Edward Barracks in Christchurch once housed soldiers. What stands there now couldn’t be more different and impressive. When the Army moved on in 1993, Ngāi Tahu Property bought the central city site, which by then also housed the police station.
When the police station was demolished and subsequently relocated following the earthquakes, Ngāi Tahu Property had a grand vision for their large, vacant site. The outstanding result was an entrant in both the Green Building and Commercial Office categories of the 2018 Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards.
The Pita Te Hori Centre is now a multi-staged, master-planned, sustainable commercial office and carpark development. Stage One comprises two five-level office buildings, a six-level carpark, two future building sites and a large landscaped public garden area called Ngā Māra a Te Wera, or The Gardens of Te Wera. The gardens are designed as a shared space and, while perfect for informal gatherings, they are also a way of remembering the site's deep Māori, European, military and police histories.
The name commemorates Te Wera, a Ngāi Tahu warrior chief, and the plantings provide a softening to the built-form environment. The development itself comprises more than 11,190 square metres of the total land holding of 16,560 square metres.
Architects Warren and Mahoney say the first buildings in the development represent a new urban design strategy for Christchurch and a significant departure from the old city model. Being part of a sustainable, vibrant and pedestrian-friendly city was the main inspiration for the development, and a feature of that was the adoption of the courtyard model, which was designed to break up the large, impenetrable city blocks that originally covered the city.
Stage One also uses an innovative District Energy System with ground-source artesian heating and cooling. This has much greater future flexibility, longevity and comfort control than alternative lower-cost systems. With the introduction of the District Energy Scheme, and the photovoltaic solar panels on the office roofs, the development comprises one of New Zealand's most sustainable office precincts. The buildings incorporate the latest technology and design, including base isolation, buckling-restrained bracing systems and high-performance and energy-efficient HVAC systems.
The development, which sits within the reborn West End suburb, will becom a vital link between Christchurch's central retail area, Hagley Park, the Cultural Precinct and the Civic Building. Ngāi Tahu Property chief executive David Kennedy says the landmark development will bring thousands of people back into the central city, and thereby "radically enhance the vibrancy of the CBD".
Pita Te Hori Centre / King Edward Barracks
48 Hereford Street, Christchurch
Owner Ngāi Tahu Property
Developer Ngāi Tahu Property
Construction Hawkins Construction & Southbase Construction
Architect Warren and Mahoney
Services Engineer Powell Fenwick Consultants & Aurecon (separate buildings)
Structural Engineer Lewis Bradford & Aurecon (separate buildings)
Mechanical Engineer Aurecon and Powell Fenwick Consultants (separate buildings)
Quantity Surveyor Rider Levett Bucknall
Project Manager Resource Coordination Partnership
Planning and Urban Design Resource Management Group
Programming Woods Harris
Photography Olivia Spencer-Bower, Project Story
This article was originally published in the 2018 Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards Magazine.