Watercare House

Sustainable buildings seem to be the best way to really get the attention of property industry peers, if the winners of the 2015 New Zealand Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards are anything to go by.

The awards, held in Auckland on 12 June, lauded projects including a Green Star rated heritage adaptive reuse, a disused wharf turned into luxury apartments and a factory that collects the majority of its own water.

Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend said the Awards were becoming increasingly difficult to judge as the bar was raised every year.

“This year, we had 92 nominations and 1350 people at Vector Arena for our awards night – the biggest number since before the Global Financial Crisis,” Mr Townsend said.

“Since then, considerations like environmental sustainability and seismicity have become increasingly important, all within a financially prudent and development environment focused on efficiency but also, quality.”

The ultimate gong, the Supreme Award, went to Wellington’s Clyde Quay Wharf, a mixed-use residential project constructed on the former International Passenger Cruise terminal.

The $180 million Wills Bond & Co development comprises 76 apartments across three linked buildings with retail, commercial office and civic spaces at wharf level. Parking is located on the underside of the wharf in a weatherproof enclosure, and there is a significant area of open space around the buildings that includes seating and walkways.

Chief judge John Dunn said judges were impressed by the scope of the project, the attention to detail, and the cooperation of all stakeholders.

“The development has incorporated leading edge architectural and engineering features, which benefits both occupants and users.”

Judges of the Supreme Award were required to evaluate all excellence and award category winners on a wide range of criteria, including an analysis of all factors that have influenced the individual projects.

This includes economic factors, design and construction, efficiency of operation, owner and user satisfaction, contribution to the community, potential cultural and social benefits, degree of difficulty associated with the development and any environmentally sustainable features and seismic measures incorporated into the project.

Clyde Quay Wharf also won the Arrow International Multi-Unit Residential category.

Sustainability features of the apartment development include solar orientation to capture northern sun in winter, and shading elements to reduce the need for mechanical cooling in summer. The structure incorporates thermal massing and insulation of the building envelope, high-performance double glazing, and apartments have natural cross-flow ventilation via operable windows and sliding doors to outdoor balconies.

The apartments also have LED lighting and energy-efficient air conditioning systems, and there has been extensive use of timber on facade elements and also for flooring and some of the joinery.

The Resene Green Building Award went to Argosy Property’s $46.6 million redevelopment of 15 Stout St in Wellington. The project also scored Excellence awards in the Commercial and Heritage and Adaptive Reuse categories.

The circa-1939 Art Deco building was formerly occupied by the Defence Ministry, and had been vacant for five years. Argosy purchased the property for $33.2 million in 2013, and one of the conditions of the sale was that the property be redeveloped before being leased to the New Zealand government on a 12-year term. It is now the head office of the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment.

The redevelopment was awarded 5 Star Green Star by the New Zealand Green Building Council.

The exterior building fabric including its granite cladding was largely retained, with the interior almost completely reconfigured to a design by Warren and Mahoney Architects. It includes a full-height atrium created by enclosing what was formerly an outdoor courtyard surrounded by the three wings of the building.

Builders McKee Fehl partnered with Aurecon to develop an on-site seismic testing system that showed the existing structure was well in excess of the current Code, so no seismic strengthening was required.

The interior was completely stripped, including all services and plant. Some elements were returned to the redeveloped fitout, including the original stairway and foyer, and damaged Oregon timber from the existing roof structure was adapatively repurposed into acoustic panelling that lines the eight-storey atrium.

The building has all new energy-efficient services, including central plant, a new building management system, new core risers, open full-width floorplates and new amenities. The office accommodates 1800 staff, but there are only 25 car parks in the basement carpark, along with 149 bike parks, shower and locker facilities.

Another 5 Star Green Star project, Watercare House in Auckland, took out the Hays Commercial Office Property Award.

Developed by Mansons TCLM and designed by JCY Architects, the $100 million project has Watercare Services as a lead tenant, with the New Zealand Lotteries Commission and Avanti Finance also signing long-term leases.

Sustainability features include LED lighting with a wireless sensor system that adjusts lighting in accordance with both daylight levels and occupancy throughout. Supplier Phillips estimated the lighting reduces energy use by 35 per cent compared to a standard fluorescent system without sensors.

The building’s curtain wall facade features double-glazed structural panels allowing for optimal natural light to the interiors. Other elements that contributed to the Green Star rating include high acoustic and thermal insulation ratings, high levels of fresh air ventilation, low water-use fittings in all amenities and a high rate of construction waste recycling.

The building has offset cantilevered floors that create north-facing decking, providing outdoor space for occupants, and a cafe with an external courtyard at ground level.

Two masterplanned developments were awarded Merit awards in the Natural Habitats Urban Land Developments category.

Long Bay, located on 162 hectares of costal land adjacent to nature reserve and recreation areas at Auckland is a residential development project by Todd Property. The project has been planned to comprise 2,500 dwellings including both detached homes and apartments, built around a village centre.

Native vegetation rehabilitation, waterways repair and planning for water-sensitive urban design have been part of the first stage of the development, which currently has 200 homes completed. All the homes in the project will incorporate rainwater harvesting and re-use, and rain gardens to manage site stormwater flows.

The Landings project, an adaptive reuse of an area of industrial land owned by Auckland International Airport, also received a merit award in the same category.

The 145 hectare commercial and industrial development includes substantial rehabilitation and enhancement of open space and green areas, including around circa 23ha bordering Oruarangi Creek, which will incorporate cycle and walking tracks, seating areas, native plantings and links to the Otuataua Stonefields.

The $21 million Metroglass Building in Auckland took out the MyTrend Industrial property Award. The new production facility consolidates the manufacturer’s activities from five former sites under one roof.

The 26,000 square metres of space in the facility incorporates sustainability features including high-efficiency LED lighting with zoned switching; floor-to-ceiling low-emissivity insulated glass panels – one of the firm’s own products – providing daylighting for office areas; and all water used for glass processing and edge working in the factory is recycled.

The facility’s 15000 sqm roof has a rainwater harvesting system installed, with on-site tanks of sufficient capacity to supply approximately half of the company’s annual water requirements.

Within the factory, plant and equipment has been selected for energy-efficiency, and a high degree of automation utilised. The facility also recycles glass as part of its operations.

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