Originally completed in 1982 for the Ministry of Works, the William Clayton building as it was known then, was the world's first office building to be base isolated.
After 30 years it was in need of a major upgrade and better recognition of its place as a gateway building into Wellington. The new owner’s brief was to double the lettable area of the building, rationalise the plan arrangement and significantly enhance its street presence. The design response was to add two floors and rationalise the overall form with sweeping folded plates that wrap around the external envelope respecting the spandrel nature of the original building but in a more contemporary manner.
The folded surface of these deep sculpted spandrels reflects the movement of the adjacent motorway while providing sun shading to the recessed windows. Full height glazing delineates the junction between the new smooth white shaped spandrels and the off-the-form darker forms of the original. The original building’s form is still readable on the lower two floors and on the Molesworth Street side of the building and all of the original concrete cladding panels have been reused.
The folded language of the exterior envelope is also reflected at the ground floor entry through sculptural concrete landscape elements and the dramatic cast in-situ canopy. Internally the folded soffits of the central stair continue this theme.
The revitalised building skilfully delivers the client’s ambition for additional space while rationalising the external form. The result is an architecture that is striking and engaging at 100 km/h from the motorway or at walking pace on the approach from Molesworth Street.
Finalist in the NZIA National Architecture Awards 2017 (Commercial)
Finalist in the BEST Awards 2017 (Repurposed Spaces)
Property Industry Award of Excellence for Commercial Office Property, 2017
Property Industry Award of Merit for Green Building Property, 2017
Concrete3 Sustainability Award for Excellence in Commercial Concrete Construction, 2016
Concrete3 Sustainability Award Overall Winner, 2016
NZIA Wellington Architecture Award for Commercial Architecture, 2017