Christchurch Civic Building Hero

Christchurch Civic Building

A major redevelopment of a 1970s building.

Christchurch Civic Building, a public/private joint venture between Christchurch City Council and Ngai Tahu Property, called for major redevelopment of the 1970s purpose-built NZ Post Building. It now houses 1250 Council staff and is the first completed 6-star Green-Star rated building in New Zealand.

The project required a full strip-out of the existing building, including the removal of a number of precast panels on each façade. The floorplates have been extended by 8m on the north elevation and a multi-functional double skin façade has opened up what was once an intimidating, industrial building. The existing ramp on Worcester Boulevard was transformed from a bleak vehicle entrance into a welcoming public walkway which runs through the building and onto Hereford Street.

Demolition began on the project whilst NZ Post remained operational for the first two months. The extent of the demolition meant that both demolition and construction activities happened concurrently - in fact, demolition was carried out alongside construction activities from day one until just 15 weeks before the project was handed over.

The building is officially New Zealand's most sustainable office design, receiving accreditation of 6 stars in February 2010. It is also New Zealand's most innovative building, achieving four out of a possible five points for innovation within the Green Star system. A 6 Green Star rating represents "world leadership", and the project scored a record 83 points in the Green Star rating system. Hawkins is now striving to back this up with an equivalent built rating.

Fuelled by biogas piped from the Burwood landfill, tri-generation technology provides simultaneous on-site electricity, cooling and heat generation for the building. Solar energy provides up to 85% of the hot water needs for the building, and rainwater harvesting is expected to re-use one million litres of water annually.

The project was conducted in an open and collaborative manner with a high level of Hawkins involvement with the client, consultants and end users. This approach enabled the entire team to deliver the project on time, to budget and to the highest standard. The degree of co-operation in problem solving and the speed at which each party provided critical information has become the benchmark for future Hawkins projects.

The project lasted 21 months and entailed 630,000 working hours. More than 2000 people worked on site, with 98 per cent of the trades staff being from Canterbury. The building was formally opened in August 2010 and named "Te Hononga" ("the joining") in symbolic recognition of the deal between Ngai Tahu Property and the Christchurch City Council.