Achieving the first 6 Star certified green rating for an office building in New Zealand was a huge coup for architect Andrew Patterson of Pattersons. Samson Corporation’s Geyser building in Parnell, which achieved the New Zealand Green Building Council rating, was not only a great project to work on, he says, but achieving the 6 Stars rather than just 5, has put him on the international stage for excellence.
The building leads New Zealand for environmental sustainability, but it was actually designed about eight years ago in many respects, says Andrew. Because of a delay while waiting for tenants to move from the street, it took a while to proceed. However, it is now well underway with three street frontages in the busy lower Parnell commercial area around Bath Street.
Andrew explains the building design came about because his long-standing clients Samson Corporation are not just property developers; they’re property holders. Once they construct buildings, they hold on to them and act as landlords. So as property owners, they sought a building that would give them long-term value.
“Both in terms of maintenance and design, it will stand the test of time and for many years remain an A-Grade classified building offering low maintenance and design that will continue to work for its tenants and look good attractive. For Samson, the enduring quality of the building has huge financial implications.”
If world governments had their way, then we’d be seeing a lot more environmentally sustainable buildings like this one, he says. But the reality is, there are not that many visionary clients demanding buildings that offer the same kind of quality that Geyser does. And it will probably be a slow process as many developers will continue to create buildings for the short term that deteriorate into B and C grade premises.
Certainly there were a multitude of challenges in the design, says Andrew, not the least of which was the tight city site in a high traffic area. But these factors represented opportunities as well, as always.
Research for the project meant tapping into a vast amount of global travel experience which Andrew considers de rigeur for inspiration. He travels extensively every year and though he won’t say which particular buildings he garnered ideas from, there were many.
When asked about the building’s green features, Andrew says “it’s the wrong way to look at things as sustainable and environmental aspects are embedded in the whole concept of the building. They’re not added in afterwards. Geyser’s floor plates are divided vertically into five individual sub-buildings connected by atriums that will all receive natural light and ventilation. It takes a large floor plate to make that work.”