Kauri Timber Building

The Kauri Timber Building was constructed on the waterfront in 1881 to serve the thriving logging industry of Auckland. The vacant parcel of land adjacent presented an opportunity for a complementary structure that rises above Fanshawe St against the original sea wall and connects to Graham St within the Victoria Quarter.

The design seeks to acknowledge the scale, proportion and detail of the heritage building while making a contribution to the sequence of built form along the city gateway.

The new seven level office building accommodates commercial tenancies linked by a central stair. A lift tower has been inserted into the existing structure, completing a vertical circulation strategy servicing new and existing floor-plates. The stair and lift shafts provide common address to the tenancies across both structures and over the series of staggered floor-plates. This route travels alongside the original exterior face of the heritage building and opens into the Fanshawe St lobby and hospitality offering.

The ground floor fenestration of the heritage building has been remodelled based on historic photography and now provides retail and hospitality tenants large scale visual presence to Fanshawe Street.

The new structure’s Fanshawe Street façade is a vertical plane that is presented as a series of fluted, perforated metal screens. In a nod to the site’s history, the structure is rolled into a series of linked arcs, referencing the massed logs once collected in this part of the waterfront and sold from within the building.

The fluting creates a strong vertical rhythm. The perforated areas lend the massing of the building both a sense of transparency and solidity. An aperture is carved from the north eastern corner to take in the city view and express the plane of screens at the upper levels.

The result is a complementary pair of structures, with their origins in the waterfront industrial heritage of Auckland.

Project Details:

The internal floor area is approximately 2500m2 and construction was completed in late 2015. Fearon Hay’s project team was led by Doug Weir. Tim Hay and Jeff Fearon are the design architects. Photography is by Patrick Reynolds. Visualisations are by Fearon Hay Architects.

Recognition: Winner of an NZIA Commercial Architecture Award (NZIA National Awards 2017) Finalist (World Architecture Festival 2017)