The ABS North Wharf

21 August 2013 — The ASB North Wharf in Auckland, New Zealand, provided a head office for ASB Bank along with “a workplace that places staff wellbeing at the forefront”, Arup building services engineer and senior associate Robert Saidman told Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Airconditioning and Heating’s The Future of HVAC 2013 conference last week.

Mr Saidman told the AIRAH conference that the seven-storey office block, completed this year, consisted of two buildings joined by a glazed multi-level walkway over a central public lane. The lane is designed to facilitate pedestrian connectivity and a new interconnected public/private space.

The building incorporated a number of innovative environmentally sustainable design strategies, he said.

The atrium functioned as the building’s “lungs”, with cross-ventilation achieved by fresh air from the open windows in the façade being drawn up into the top of the building through a distinctive funnel.

The funnel and light reflector on the building’s roof capture and reflect natural light deep into the building. A distinctive sunscreen on the north façade references the leaves of the Pohutukawa, a native New Zealand tree.

Designed from the inside out, the workplace fit-out is based on a village concept, with themed “neighbourhoods” and a range of communal spaces.

“From project inception through to commissioning, the driver for the design has been to set new standards in terms of indoor environmental quality and energy performance,” Mr Saidman said.

Conceived through collaboration between Arup, architects BVN Donovan Hill in association with Jasmax and clients ASB and KIPT, the mechanical services design employs the first fixed-bin displacement mixed-mode ventilation system in Australia and New Zealand, he said.

“Harnessing the local mild climate and cool breezes, the mixed-mode design empowers tenants with the ability to open windows when conditions are favourable through an elegantly designed red light/green light notification system.”

Mr Saidman said the shape and form of the building’s atria and funnel had been achieved through close collaboration between architects and engineer to ensure effective mixed-mode operation.

“The result is a building which engages with its tenants and sets new benchmarks for the future of HVAC.”