Britomart East Complex Hero

Britomart East Complex

For generations Britomart has been a strategically important place of defense, transport and trade. However, from the mid-20th century it suffered from a lack of investment and increasing decay and much of it lay derelict and forgotten. In the 1970s, 80s and 90s Britomart had a series of lucky escapes from proposed demolition. The historic Quay and Customs Street East areas were eventually given formal heritage protection by the New Zealand Historic Places Trust.

A new proposal was developed for a mixed-use community at Britomart that would also preserve its special heritage, and in 2002 Auckland City Council put the development contract up for tender. After an international design competition and a lengthy competitive bid process, the right to the Britomart development was won by the Bluewater Consortium. Consortium member Cooper and Company later took over responsibility for the regeneration and long-term management of Britomart.

The East commercial office complex is the second project Hawkins undertook for Cooper & Co.

Cooper & Co’s aims:

  • To create a new transit-oriented precinct within the CBD and adjacent to the waterfront in which to live, work, shop and play
  • To conserve and enhance the identified heritage buildings
  • To strengthen the character of the streets within and adjoining the precinct
  • To maintain the fundamental intent of the 2001 master plan and the 2004 Bluewater Schemes.

What we did:

We delivered this 12-storey commercial building designed to a Green Star 5 rating. The development comprises two high-grade office buildings (East 1 & East 2) with ground floor retail space that are linked structurally for stability from Level 2 upwards. A third visually-distinct office building (East 3) spans the Britomart East 1 and 2 buildings on levels 10, 11 and 12. Te Ara Tahuhu walking street runs between the East 1 and East 2 buildings.

The new 40,000m² commercial office complex is home to separate tenants with Westpac occupying East 1 (which will connect to the neighbouring Westpac Charter House by three link bridges) and Ernst & Young, East 2. A series of air bridges that span an internal atrium / walking street through the middle of the building link several levels, creating a stunning and modern office environment. The Britomart Transport Centre is accessible directly from this central atrium.

Notable features include:

  • "Green walls" were incorporated at the east and west end of the atrium space, in order to improve air quality, acoustics and thermal performance of the building.
  • Cellular steel beams. This was one of the first projects in New Zealand to use these. Overall the project used over 3000 tonnes of structural steel.
  • Concrete columns with six suspended post-tensioned concrete floors. At the time it was built this was the largest post-tensioned structure in New Zealand.
  • A main atrium roof constructed from ETFE, the same product used on the Forsyth Barr Stadium and Waitomo Caves Visitor Centre projects.

Hawkins Interiors division was also involved in the project, performing a number of different roles for each of the three main tenants:

  • For anchor tenant Westpac, Hawkins Interiors subcontracted to Hawkins Construction for carpentry fit-out works including internal partitions, glazing, doors and acoustic treatments and was also involved in fit-out works for Westpac’s ground floor retail area
  • For Southern Cross, Hawkins Interiors performed the role of project manager, liaising between the fit-out contractors and Hawkins Construction
  • For Ernst & Young, Hawkins Interiors were the main fit-out contractor.

Unique challenges:

Construction challenges included:

  • working in and around functional businesses and tenants. It was important we understood the impacts construction activities could have on their business and operations.
  • Ensuring the structure could move in the event of an earthquake given it was constructed directly above a live train station. Rubber vibration pads were put in place underneath the structure to allow it to do just that.

The outcome:

Britomart East Complex provides a 21st century environment for some of New Zealand’s best known businesses and helps to rejuvenate a key part of Auckland’s CBD.

Hawkins’ ongoing involvement in the development of the Britomart precinct continued with the design and construction of a $65 million mixed use and car park development on the site of the old Oriental Markets, which was completed in April 2011.