Commercial Bay’s landmark $1b PwC Tower wins Property Council supreme award

Commercial Bay’s new 40-level $1 billion PwC Tower has won the Property Council’s supreme award, praised for providing a “dramatic gateway entry” to the city near the waterfront.

“A brave and challenging development, with clear economic and social benefits to the city and its community,” said council chief executive Leonie Freeman of Precinct Properties NZ’s project.

The tower beat 108 others in the awards whose main sponsor is Rider Levett Bucknall.

Buildings win not so much for architectural but for economic and financial success, project vision and innovation, design and construction, owner and user satisfaction and sustainability including efficiency of operation.

Judges called PwCa striking project where shops, restaurants, bars and offices are combined in the one building.

“This complex mega project extends to 97,500sq m of built form, with construction involving extensive demolition of the former Downtown Shopping Centre, deep excavation below sea level and the construction of City Rail Link tunnels, alongside construction of the tower and retail and hospitality in three distinct buildings,” the judges said.

The tower also won the best commercial office property award.

Goodman Property Trust chief executive John Dakin and Argosy Property chief executive Peter Mence won lifetime achievement awards for decades of service to the sector.

The dramatic curved new Foodstuffs North Island headquarters at Auckland Airport’s The Landings won an excellence award and the Resene green building award.

The 77,500sq m ambient distribution centre has the largest footprint of any NZ building, where 350 people work. It stands beside the new 9000sq m headquarters or support office where around 950 people work on the same site at 35 The Landing Dr.

The new headquarters off George Bolt Memorial Dr replaced eight buildings including the ex-headquarters at Roma Rd, Mt Roskill and in Rotorua, to centralise grocery distribution operations in the country’s most densely populated area. Goods for more than 100 of Foodstuffs North Island’s 153 supermarkets are delivered from the new hug.

The business has another DC in Palmerston North.

Monk McKenzie said the new HQ was “conceived conceptually as an elegant structure that emerges from the surrounding landscape. Constructed earth bunds at both ends of the building rise to meet a concrete roof that arcs across the building’s 100m length. This singular gesture emphasises the co-operative grocer’s connections with the land and the movement from garden to table – a movement from the rawness of the landscape to the crafted interior.”

Rotorua’s new $18m Scion Innovation Hub designed won an excellence award. Irving Smith Architects, RTA Studio and Dunning Thornton Consultants collaborated on the design of this building.

The 99-room Hotel Britomart won two awards: the Naylor Love heritage and adaptive reuses prize and the Holmes Group tourism and leisure property award.

Judges called it a seamless and stylish assimilation of old and new and congratulated Cooper and Company on “a respectful, innovative, and striking addition to an important district”.

Nat Cheshire, the architect who designed the hotel, said the Apple iPhone was partly the inspiration, at least originally when he started working on designs a decade ago, although that changed as plans changed.

“It is a contemporary building amongst buildings which are 140 years older than it. It’s a pair of thin towers made entirely from bricks that are rough, small and irregular. Those bricks are perforated with a constellation of windows that are as precise and flat as iPhone screens,” Cheshire told the Herald last year.

Middlemore Hospital’s Tiaho Mai Acute Mental Health Unit won best in category in the Warren and Mahoney civic, health and arts section.

Judges said: “The new acute adult mental health inpatient unit harnesses the benefits of light, fresh air and connection to nature, to create a stress reducing, healing environment. It places service users’ dignity and choice at its heart, while maintaining safety and connectedness to culture and the communities of Counties Manukau Health.”

New Zealand’s tallest building – the new 57-level The Pacifica apartments by Hengyi Pacific – won the Templeton Group multi-unit residential property award.

Liz Scott, general manager of developer Hengyi New Zealand, told the Herald when the building opened in January that about 600 people would live in the tower which has 273 units.

Residents get free use of a seventh-level gym overlooking the city, inground 20m pool open to the north, spa, steam room and sauna which has walls lined with 137-year-old Canadian oak.

Avant Group’s Kotuitui community housing scheme won the Kāinga Ora homes and communities community and affordable housing prize. Colliers said Kiwibuild buyers were eligible for that two and three bedroom terrace-style housing scheme, priced from $590,000.

The University of Otago Te Whare Wānanga o Otāgo Faculty of Dentistry building won the Greenstone Group education property award.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare’s new Auckland offices won the CBRE industrial property award and Countdown Rototuna won the Yardi retail property award.

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