A solid, sustainable victory for Athfield Architects

A solid, sustainable victory for Athfield Architects
athfield architects concrete sustinability award

Ian Athfield was recognised with the grand John Britten Black Pin at the Best Awards earlier this month, and now Athfield Architects can add the 2012 Supreme Concrete3 Sustainability Award to the haul – all in the space of just a week.

Athfield Architects picked up the honours on Friday for its extensive refurbishment of the new Christchurch Civic Building on Hereford Street.

The award recognised the transformation of what was the New Zealand Post Building into an architectural statement that adds tremendous value to Christchurch, says Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ) chief executive Rob Gaimster.

The judging panel applauded Athfield Architects for the way in which significant changes were made to the existing concrete building, creating spectacular work and interactive spaces without losing the original architectural and industrial heritage.

The design reconfigured the building’s existing service and transportation cores, and added mezzanines to the main office levels. The existing precast concrete cladding panels from the southern facade were removed, reworked and reused on the northern side to create a completely new extension with double skin facade, and circulation stair and winter gardens behind.

Despite the significant changes, the design retains and celebrates the building’s original Brutalist style.

“The new construction materials read deliberately as distinct insertions, to set up a contrast between old and new, providing visual interest and complexity.”

The Christchurch Civic Building also received a 6 Green Star Office Design rating.

On their way to the top prize, the Athfield Architects team were also presented with the Excellence in Commercial Concrete Construction.

Christchurch Civic Building

The awards also produced winners in four other categories:

Excellence in Concrete for the Community
went to Tennent + Brown Architects for Nga Purapura in Otaki. Te Wananga-O-Raukawa, a Maori tertiary institution, required a building to fulfil its vision for courses focused on improving physical well-being for Maori. The building’s most striking feature is the sandblasted patterns on the exterior panels, which communicate the project’s Kaupapa of Maori health and well-being to the wider community. The project involved the extensive use of resilient precast concrete as the primary cladding material. 

Excellence in Concrete Innovation was awarded to Allied Concrete Limited for its Recycled Glass Sand Initiative. The company has converted three of its plants to be able to use crushed glass as a sand replacement in a selection of lower strength concrete mixes.

Excellence in Civil Concrete Construction
was won by Fulton Hogan Limited for the Huntsbury Reservoir in Christchurch. Following the February 2011 earthquake, which severely damaged the reservoir and resulted in the total loss of stored water from the 35,000m3 structure, the reinstatement of as much water storage as feasible was urgently required. The design and construction method adopted allowed for the reuse of the existing concrete external walls, roof slab, foundations and floor slab of the existing structure, as well as work to add seismic resilience. The reuse of demolition concrete waste was crucial to the material minimisation plan with concrete crushed on site and reused as fill in various locations.

Excellence in Residential Concrete Construction was awarded to Ponsonby architecture company Matter for a premier residential property on a picturesque but steep site in Point Chevalier, Auckland. The foundations and the house structure are built around a concrete raft slab and sandwich panel arrangement, with the raft slab offering seismic resilience while also being a key element of the overall passive solar design. The mass of the sandwich panels also help to prevent dramatic fluctuations in the house’s internal temperature, while providing retaining capability for the site.

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