"We had to provide a robust, commercially viable amenity that respected the parent structure, while supporting and complementing the public use and enjoyment of the precinct."
The design solution consequently presents a new building founded on the existing wharf structure, which was extensively repiled. The building provides 76 high-end apartments on the upper levels with a mix of retail and food businesses and maritime amenities at the wharf level. A new carpark was developed beneath the wharf the work was combined with the wharf strengthening and repiling.
"In keeping with the local requirements, the design accentuates and strengthens the gestures established by the existing Overseas Passenger Terminal, creating strong gateways to the harbour and city," says Dickson. "The wharf level remains a public space with pedestrian access, and is integrated with other parts of the wharfscape and into the wider Wellington promenade."
The contemporary architecture is informed by various historical and nautical references. The building incorporates the form of a ship's hull, structural ribs and decks. At the front, the ship's "prow" is as bold as the prow on the original building, while the "stern" is reminiscent of the superstructure of a large ship.
"There were height restrictions for the entire building, however the elevated south end gives it a slightly different feel it's an anchoring point that enhances the overall look of the structure," says Dickson.
Freestanding white shade canopies in the public areas have a distinctive aerodynamic form that is also fitting for the location. They are designed to deflect the strong wind off the harbour while providing privacy, both for people on the wharf and for residents in the apartments above.
The salt-laden winds were a key factor in the design and choice of materials throughout the development. Materials and colours were also selected to highlight the forms along the building's length providing variation and articulation while still allowing it to read as a cohesive structure.
"The white colour of the prow at the north end of the wharf allows this element to appear light and floating, while materials in the central hull accentuate modulation through the body, and the south end reads quite separately," says Dickson.