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Shining addition to Cathedral Square

Locations don't come more iconic than Cathedral Square in Christchurch – now leading telecommunications firm Spark is primary tenant in a stunning new, five-storey mixed-use building at 2 Cathedral Square. Designed by Sheppard & Rout Architects with some arresting features, the building more than does justice to the setting

Designed by Sheppard & Rout Architects

From the architects:

The new Spark building is positioned on one of the most prominent central sites in Christchurch facing Hereford Street, Colombo Street and Cathedral Square. 

It is the regional headquarters for New Zealand’s leading telecommunications company who have taken advantage of this site to promote the importance of their business to Christchurch and New Zealand.


Spark was forced to relocate its workforce to the suburbs of Christchurch after the earthquake like many other businesses. 

The central city became a deserted wasteland devoid of activity and tenants immediately after the quake but that has now changed with large companies like Spark committing to Christchurch and moving back into the CBD. 

This building is designed to re-centralise 500 Spark staff in one central location helping to enliven Cathedral Square and enrich the urban experience in this area. 

 It is designed to be a landmark building which evokes the hi tech, creative, forward thinking aspirations of the company. The external form is a crystalline, facetted form with layers of fritted glass hovering over a ground floor generous retail with high ceilings. 

The fritting pattern on the exterior is a ghostly pixelated image of the slate roof pattern of the Christchurch Cathedral roof directly opposite. This links the building to its place, history and context but reinterpreted in a contemporary manner of floating ephemeral digital-like data. A highly appropriate reference to the core business of Spark.

These multiple layers of glass provide a shimmering, contemporary feel with real depth and richness. As you move around the building the effects of parallax and Moire evoke the ever shifting and moving streams of today’s virtual communications.

 The main entry into the building is via a 4-storey generous atrium space accessible from Cathedral Square or Hereford Street. The atrium is a dynamic space with sweeping curving lines flying through space culminating in a dramatic whirlpool of a feature spiral stair that descends down to ground.

The lines also evoke the dynamic movement, sharing and collaboration of information that is the heart of the business of today’s telecommunications industry. 

This public atrium is intersected at right angles by a more private atrium, social stair and terraced seating area for Spark that starts from the first floor. With a good visual relationship between the two spaces it connects the Spark office environment above with the public world below.

On the rooftop of the building a stunning hospitality space is provided. In a great location with views down to Cathedral Square to the north, Colombo Street to the west and Hereford Street to the south, it also allows magnificent panoramic distant views across the rooftops of Christchurch to the Southern Alps around to the Port Hills beyond. 

This rooftop hospitality area has a large outdoor terrace oriented to the sunny northwest and is sheltered from prevailing winds behind tall walls of glass. This is one of the first rooftop hospitality tenancies to be built in Christchurch.

The whole building is designed to be highly sustainable aiming to achieve a 5-star green rating. 

It is a base isolated low damage design over a basement carpark making it one of the safest office buildings in Christchurch. It has a generous loading and back of house area for rubbish, recycling and deliveries. 

The facetted double skin façade also provides an excellent environmental buffer to the building whilst still allowing good daylighting in and excellent views out.

Overall the new Spark building is one of the most prominent, high quality office and retail complexes constructed in Christchurch. 

Pushing the boundaries with creative sustainability features, innovative seismic engineering and international best practice urban design principles.

Credit list

Developer
Nexus Point
Consulting engineers
TM Consultants
Quantity Surveying & Construction Cost Management
WT Partnership
Shop fronts
Bluestone pavers
Lift doors and architraves
Gold Mirror Stainless Steel
Spiral staircase, bulkheads, curved balustrades
Fibrous plaster
Scissor stair
Gib walls and hardwood skirting
Internal wallcoverings
Atrium and stair – fibrous plaster; atrium – glass shopfronts;
Spark office flooring
Ontera 'Patina Vibes' carpet; Forbo Flotex essentials collection Calgary Ash carpet; 15mm CDK veined bluestone pavers (leathered finish) by CDK Stone; Pitch Black Sphera Energetic vinyl
Architect
Sheppard & Rout Architects; architect in charge – Jasper van der Lingen; project architect – Steven Orr; design team – Matt Gutsell, Max Warren, Abigail Hurst, Ella van der Lingen, Rebecca Gordon, James Simpson and Tim Dagg
Structural engineering
Holmes Consulting
Cladding
Frit glass, double skin, by Thermosash; silver anodised aluminium; Colorsteel Euro Tray; reinforced precast concrete wall – smooth and board-marked
Soffits
Cedar
Lift core
30mm Patagonian granite slabs by CDK Stone, Lithofin stone sealer
Timber Curved Wall behind Spiral Staircase
Maple Beech 90x12mm vertical T&G paneling, by Lindsay & Dixon
Flooring
Reinforced concrete slab; Porcelanosa Samoa Antracita ceramic tiles; veined bluestone pavers (leathered finish), from CDK Stone
Ceilings
Mainly GIB; office spaces – exposed concrete double T ceilings
Paint
Resene

Story by: Trendsideas

Photography by: Dennis Radermacher, LightForge

03 May, 2020