Contemporary mixed-use building complex with linking glass atrium

Large modern office and retail buildings have NZME media conglomerate as star tenant

Story by: Charles Moxham Photography by: Alex Wallace
Aluminium panels in different colours and widths are apartment, architecture, building, city, commercial building, condominium, corporate headquarters, daytime, facade, headquarters, house, metropolis, metropolitan area, mixed use, neighbourhood, real estate, residential area, sky, tower block, urban area, urban design, gray
Aluminium panels in different colours and widths are more concentrated on the corners of this building to heighten and define its profile.

Impacted by the internet and the digital worldgenerally, media groups today are consolidating and reinventing themselves for a brave new world. Part of this is finding premises that bring divisions together for a focussed, integrated news presence.

While 2 Graham St wasn't actually built for principal tenant New Zealand Media and Entertainment (NZME) it did provide the ideal environment in which to merge the newspaper, radio, and digital media business.

Designed by JCY Architects, with director Jason Gerrand as project director, and MCS as civil and structural engineer, the development consists of two new six-storey commercial office buildings linked by an enclosed glass atrium. There is also a second atrium that floods natural light into the heart of one of the buildings. In addition, there's a connecting podium and 240 carparks located in two levels of basement parking.

Besides offering around 21,050m² of office space, 2 Graham St animates the area at street level with retail along the edge of the longer building B. Further retail is on the side of the podium that steps down to Hardinge Street at the rear of the buildings.

The contemporary, mixed use development boasts large floor plates of up to 3100m² per level and the two buildings' significant size could have resulted in a monolithic presence.

Gerrand says there are many aspects to the complex facade which helped to define and yet downplay the presence of the conjoined buildings.

"The complex facade treatments balance light and solar control across the faces of the buildings, modulating openness and privacy," says Gerrand. "The ground floors of both buildings have full height glazing, providing the active edge required for retail.

"The four levels of facade rising above comprise monolithic glass punctuated by Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) patterning. The density of arrangement of the panels increases towards the corners of the buildings, crisply defining their edges."


The central atrium of 2 Graham St by architecture, building, handrail, mixed use, stairs, black, white
The central atrium of 2 Graham St by JCY Architects offers a social hub for key tenant NZME.

The panels were applied in three thicknesses, three widths and three finishes silver metallic, pure white and bronze metallic. They replace glass infills and help reduce solar gain to the interior.

"Further visual relief is provided at key corners and across the entire northern facade with a series of anodised aluminium vertical fins in colours that echo the ACM facade pattern. The aluminium fins range from 2-5m in length. These were fixed to the fae§ade by abseilers after the glazing was installed.

Inside, the glass atrium with its crisscrossing bridges and stairs has a sculptural presence of its own. The inset end walls are an artful composition of three tones of tinted glass, hiding the complex structural support skeleton behind the glass.

Dynamic as the atrium is, the need for seismic resistance made it even more complex behind the scenes. The atrium edge junctions are engineered to move up to 80cm in the event of an earthquake, while glazed roofs over the main and internal atriums have specialist extrusions with enhanced drainage.

The buildings' sustainability features include everything from an efficient building envelope to superior indoor air quality, specification of low-VOC materials, and social aspects of green design, such as bike facilities. These pushed it over the line to be Auckland's latest 5 Green Star rated building.

It was 2 Graham St's green, modern, open, and interconnected environment that attracted its major tenant, media conglomerate NZME as it set about radically transforming its business.

Rather than relocating its three component parts Herald publisher APN NZ, broadcaster The Radio Network and e-commerce provider GrabOne into one of its existing Auckland offices, NZME drew a line under the past and drafted plans for this ambitious location a few blocks away across town.

As its new audience-first' strategy was mapped within the walls of its existing Albert Street and Cook Street offices, so it physically took shape, space by space, on 2 Graham St.

The iHeart Lounge part of the NZME fit-out ceiling, interior design, table, gray
The iHeart Lounge part of the NZME fit-out at 2 Graham St is used for meetings, functions, live performances and socialising. The stripped out ceiling with exposed services painted white is a play on similar but black ceiling treatments on some of the floors above.

Occupying the ground, first and second floors of both buildings apart from the active edge retail NZME utilised the open, large span office floors to reflect the business's new dynamism and purpose, says interior designer Nicki Brady at Telco.

"To connect to listeners, several of the company's radio stations achieve visual prominence at street level on the corners of the building. Their presence is further heightened through public information digital screens mounted on the building's exterior."

NZME now has an integrated newsroom on the first floor of building A, incorporating digital, print, radio and video. A newsdesk in the centre is designed for stand-up meetings and conferences.

"At ground floor in building A, a shiny stainless steel reception desk welcomes visitors in. Behind this, the iHeart Lounge offers an events venue that opens to an exterior courtyard over the podium."

While these elements indicate an emphasis on individual parts, the two buildings' connectivity lent itself to NZME's more consolidated presence a creative, innovation hub, agile and fully enabled.

To reflect this NZME focuses on collaborative workplace for teams to come together. And an important part of this was the utilisation of the light-filled, central atrium.

"Occupying space on both sides of the divide, NZME wanted its cafes located in this area for an animated, feel-good atmosphere," says Brady. "In addition, the four cross bridges are large enough for casual break out and meeting spaces."

The NZME floors are intentionally open-plan throughout, without a single enclosed office, while colourful, conceptual signage features throughout.

Jun 01, 2016

Credit list

Developer, construction company and quantity surveyor
Mansons TCLM
Engineers; structural
Geoff Chilcott, Quiggy
Glass
Metro Performance Glass
Facade design
APL, Wight Aluminium Vantage
Base build fit-out construction
Alaska
Balustrades and handrails
Designer Stainless
Paints
Wattyl
Lobby feature walls
Ambitech
NZME interior design
Telco
Partitioning
PSL Partitions, Transpace Operable Walls
Hardware
Drapes
Auckland Drape Company, Kvadrat Maharam, Textilia
Flooring
Toli from EcoFloors, Desso and Tarkett from Jacobsens
Ceiling
AAB Panel from Autex; Stratopanel and Triton 50 from Asona
Paints
Resene Bokara Grey and Black White
Heating/air conditioning
Daikin
Office chairs
Aspect Okamuru
Additional furniture
Matisse, UFL, Simon James, Kada, Staples, Cult, Backhouse, Cite, Wilkhahn, Issa, David Shaw, Europlan, IMO, Lundia, Workscape, Zenith, Irvine
Kitchen equipment
Scope, Fisher and Paykel, Zenith
Architects; project team
Jason Gerrand, Steve Jensen, Jean-Marc Colomar
Mechanical and electrical engineer, fire consultant
Norman Disney Young
Civil Engineer
Paul Culley
Roof
Dimond Colorsteel Roofing
Glazing system
APL, Wight Aluminium
Flooring
Atrium floor tiles by SCE Stone and Design; foyer walls and floor tiles by European Ceramics
Veneers
Laminex Group
Lift services
Schindler Lifts
Design Team
Nicki Brady DINZ, Mark Parris, Kelly Cameron NZME fit-out Focus
Window/door joinery
Pacific Doors, Transpace Operable Doors
Blinds
NZ Window Shades
Tiling
Jacobsens
Wallcoverings
Quicklock from Asona; Big Ideas
Veneers
Laminex Group
Lighting
Unison, Artiture, Rexel, Philips, Cult
Workstations
Aspect Furniture
Reception furniture
Matisse, UFL, Simon James, Kada, Douglas and Bec, Staples, Cult
Fabrics
Kvadrat Maharam, Textilia, James Dunlop, Warwick, Textile Mania, Vivid
Plants
Green Air
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