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Building sustainably becomes concrete yet again for Peddle Thorp Architects

It may not be much to look at and you might not think it an overly sustainable product, but where would construction be without good ‘ole concrete? Recently the Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand held its 2011 Concrete3 Sustainability Awards, celebrating those that do it best when it comes to the sustainable use of concrete in building. Open to anyone in the construction industry, from architects, designers and engineers to contractors, the winning design came by way of Peddle Thorp Architects for its work revitalising the multi-storey office building at 21 Queen Street, Auckland, preserving its concrete frame and core while creating vibrant and thoroughly modern spaces both inside and out. The firm also picked up the Excellence in Commercial Concrete Constructionaward. 

It’s not the first sustainability accolade picked up by the firm for the 21 Queen Street property. Earlier this year it won awards in both the Sustainability and Commercial categories of the New Zealand Archietcure Awards. 

The award, presented at the ninth International Symposium on High Performance Concrete Design in Rotorua, recognised the ‘reuse – reduce’ strategies adopted by the project principals, which enabled the building’s life cycle to be significantly increased, the embodied energy of its concrete elements to be saved, and the emissions associated with alternative demolition and new build scenarios prevented – all key to achieving environmental sustainability in construction. 

Stripping the site’s 14 level 1970’s concrete structural frame of its cladding and fit-out, to form the heart of a refurbished and modern building also underpinned the project’s commercial viability, as well as breathing new life into the urban environment around Queen Elizabeth Square. 

But alas, the awards weren’t all about Peddle Thorp. Four other gongs were dished out: Excellence in Civil Concrete Construction, Excellence in Concrete Innovation, Excellence in Residential Concrete Construction, and Excellence in Concrete for the Community.

Excellence in Concrete Innovation 

Engineering firm Structex picked up the award for the Southern Cross Hospital’s Endoscopy Building in Christchurch, which for the first time in New Zealand utilised post-tensioned concrete PRESSS (PREcast Seismic Structural Systems) technology with U-Shape Flexural Plates. This innovative approach to structural engineering and construction saw the medical facility, which has a Building Importance Level 3 classification, emerge unscathed from the February 22 earthquake. 

Recently the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering put a case forward for PRESSS technology as an extremely viable solution in the hunt for earthquake reistant technology. 

Excellence in Residential Concrete Construction

Awarded to Daniel Marshall Architects for Elmstone House in Auckland, a contemporary home which makes use of precast concrete over three floors to optimise a steep site and offer comfortable, energy efficient and low maintenance family living. 

Excellence in Concrete for the Community 

This award was picked up by Golden Bay Cement which is progressively replacing imported fossil fuels with locally sourced renewable alternatives, such as wood biofuel, to help reduce landfill waste as well as carbon dioxide emissions during cement manufacture. 

Excellence in Civil Concrete Construction 

That accolade went to Downer New Zealand for the DART 9 rail link station in Manukau. Constructed under the Leighton Works partnership, this below ground facility, built entirely of concrete, used advanced secant pile technology and specialised concrete mix designs to realise a vital piece of infrastructure for the wider Auckland community.