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“Warren and Mahoney has produced a design which perfectly showcases some of the world’s most beautiful cars. At the same time it is the most technologically impressive and environmentally friendly building of its type in the country.”

Michael Giltrap, Joint Managing Director of Giltrap Group Holdings

The new Giltrap Group headquarters and prestige showroom for Aston Martin, Bentley and Lamborghini, is a precision-designed facility, which puts the spotlight where it belongs – on the vehicles.

Designed by Warren and Mahoney, the building at 119 Great North Road in Grey Lynn, Auckland is a mixed-use development that co-locates the Giltrap head-office team and sets the benchmark for ‘star car’ showrooms around the world.

Principal and lead architect Jonathan Hewlett says the project incorporates several global firsts within its design. “The challenge was to include these innovations while working within the parameters of each brand’s corporate identity.”

Three years in the making, the development is owned and partly occupied by the Giltrap Group. It features a 1500-square-metre, streel-level showroom, spread across the three brands, along with three commercial office floors above and four basement levels where the workshop, staff training areas and ample car-parking is located.

Moving away from the traditional model of a forecourt with administration offices set behind, every aspect of the customer journey is contained within the building envelope. The prestige marque line-up has a more immediate presence on the street, displayed as if in a retail window.

This ground-level showroom is designed as a gallery of automobiles and, as the shopfront to these luxury vehicles, it was imperative that it broadcast a premium message in keeping with the unique identity of each marque. “The showroom was conceived as three jewellery boxes with glazing that wraps around on the sides,” explains Hewlett. While it reads as a single entity from the exterior, internal finishes clearly distinguish each brand. 

Low-iron glass ensures precision clarity of the viewing experience for passers-by. During the day, natural light floods into the space while at night, overhead and carefully placed floor lighting put the accent on the vehicles as art. “Already people have been pulling over to stop and stare at the cars,” says Hewlett.

To maintain the emphasis on the Aston Martin, Bentley and Lamborghini offering, the structure of the building is definitive yet unobtrusive. “We wanted a pure experience of the architecture, so the cars could be the talking piece,” explains Barrington Gohns, project architect. The design story centres on a large V-shaped concrete trusses that intersect with the showroom and offer structural support to the floors above. “For the trusses, we pumped the concrete into a mould from the bottom so that there would be no air bubbles,” says Barrington. “That way, we achieved a higher-quality finish.”

Echoing the beneath-the-bonnet, high-end specification of these star cars, the building aesthetic may appear simple and streamlined, but it’s the hidden details that count. Warren and Mahoney worked with performance lighting experts Targetti to develop bespoke all-in-one fitting for the lights, power, data and sprinkler systems. “It’s a slim-line servicing solution where all the customer sees is the outer casing of the light fitting,” says Barrington.

A seamless customer journey is central to the design. Clients drive in to the building off Great North Road, past the showroom and into an ‘internal street’ which provides an under-cover, secure way to navigate from the retail zone to the service areas. A number-plate recognition device alerts reception to their arrival. The architects collaborated with traffic engineers on the five curved concrete ramps between each floor which are meticulously planned for minimum car clearance. The curve profiles were tested in 3D vehicle tracking software and then constructed and installed on site with a laser scanner to ensure millimetre accuracy.

The underground workshop area includes 11 dedicated service bays that are viewable from above. “There’s a transparency of process, a little like in a surgical theatre,” explains Barrington. Customers can watch the technicians at work and staff training rooms ensure the latest global best practice is observed. To preserve the consistency of the clean-lined design, the bays are equipped with wraparound halo lights, hoists that are reticulated from below, as well as in-floor exhaust extractors. Barrington: “There is very little to clutter the visual experience of the vehicles and the raw state of the building’s structure.”

Design details that might go un-noticed but are essential to the flawless customer experience include the installation of an acoustic ceiling in the handover room. “This has the effect of filtering out other noise and puts the focus on the pure sound of the engine,” says Hewlett. Large glass slider doors provide access to the pre-owned showroom with a specific wheel mechanism rather than the customary brush system, so that tiny stones brought in by car tyres don’t get caught in the tracks.

Sustainable solutions were also integral to the plan and 119 Great North Road is the first building of its type on track to achieve a five-star Greenstar rating. The ongoing environmental performance will be assessed by the NABERSNZ certification programme.  High-performance glass creates an efficient thermal envelope and smart technology means energy use is closely monitored. LED lighting is on sensors and switches to low or off when not required while a combination of natural and automated ventilation means the system is reactive to day-to-day conditions. In anticipation of the introduction of electric vehicles, provision has also been made for fast-charge stations on the showroom floor. Hewlett: “It was important that we future proof the design to be able to respond to developments in all three brands.”

Upstairs, the home of the Giltrap HQ is on Level 1 with two more floors of premium office space still to be leased. With the opening of a centralised on-site café, operated by Ripe, tenants and the public alike can enjoy the handsome company of world-leading automobile brands with a state-of-the-art environment as backdrop.

“The 119 GNR Building has exceeded all our expectations,” according to Michael Giltrap, the Joint Managing Director of Giltrap Group Holdings.

“Warren and Mahoney has produced a design which perfectly showcases some of the world’s most beautiful cars. At the same time it is the most technologically impressive and environmentally friendly building of its type in the country”

“For us this is the perfect combination: a building designed by New Zealand architects, for a New Zealand-owned company, which thanks to clever design and materials, is doing its part to look after the New Zealand environment.”

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To achieve Gold Award status in six very different categories is a testament to the strong relationships and commitment to smooth project delivery by all of the contractors involved.

Katherine Skipper

Eight projects in which Warren and Mahoney was a project partner have been recognised for excellence in commercial construction in the recent 2018 Master Builders Commercial Property Awards.

The Master Builders Commercial Property Awards, which includes ten categories, one Supreme and one Value Award, is the only programme that awards the work of a team in delivering a ‘mark of quality’. 

Principal Katherine Skipper says that Warren and Mahoney is proud to have worked with some great contractor teams to achieve excellence in a range of complex projects.

“To achieve Gold Award status in six very different categories is a testament to the strong relationships and commitment to smooth project delivery by all of the contractors involved. 

“Given the involved and often highly complex nature of a project’s supply chain, the relationships between the various project members are crucial to its success. So much of this work goes on behind the scenes which makes recognition of the team approach through these awards so important,” says Skipper.

Entrants have the opportunity to vie for Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards in each category, as well as National Category wins and a Supreme Award.

Warren and Mahoney was project partner for awards in the Commercial, Commercial Fitout, Heritage/Restoration, Tourism & Leisure, Retail and Residential categories, with the Wellington International Airport – Terminal South Extension being awarded both Gold and National Category Winner. 

2018 Master Builders Commercial Property Awards Judges comments:

Tourism and Leisure Gold Award for Wellington International Airport – Terminal South Extension

Judges comments:

This sensitive addition to a much-admired building was carried out in a complex series of phases to ensure the building was fully functional throughout the process. Creativity and detailed planning ensured both passengers and baggage handling could pass through the area of the works without compromising safety or security. The result is an addition so well integrated that it looks as though it was always intended as the completion of the southern end of the building.

 

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This wasn’t just a design project, it was a cultural transformation project.

Gary McDiarmid, Russell McVeagh CEO

Warren and Mahoney has been recognised for its leading workplace design with a second consecutive Good Design Award for Architectural Design: Interior Design for its re-imagining of the workspace of one of New Zealand’s oldest established law practices.

Russell McVeagh’s Auckland office occupies three and a half levels of Shortland Street’s Vero Centre, and in 2016 the firm teamed up with Warren and Mahoney to transition the space to an open-plan, agile environment to accommodate the new wave of lawyers entering the market.

The 2018 Good Design Awards jury commented on Warren and Mahoney’s award saying “The workspace is agile, and of a discerning design quality intent on attracting and retaining the brightest legal minds in New Zealand. The space is anchored by a bold, curated social hub underpinning wellbeing at the heart of the project.”

Project Principal Scott Compton says that the new workspace challenges the conventional approach to legal workplace design.

“This space is all about the aspiring lawyer. The world of law has moved on; status is foregone for a more democratic, open and agile
operation where Douglas Fir and open vistas replace mahogany desks and the ‘partner’ office,” says Compton.

The new workspace has no defined hierarchy, as all employees, legal or support, have access to light, 360-degree views of Auckland Harbour and City, and flexible workstations. 

Russell McVeagh CEO Gary McDiarmid says that the interior refurbishment of approximately 3000sqm has created a more modern, dynamic workplace with greater connectivity, both physically and digitally.

“This wasn’t just a design project, it was a cultural transformation project, taking the firm from a cellular office environment to a fully open plan environment. The perception of a rigid, old school law firm is now shattered – we are now open, collaborative, flexible and mobile,” says McDiarmid.

A key design element of the new space is a large central hub and common area, complete with an open atrium, sculptural stair, and high
amenities. 

The project’s design language of curved built form helps create a sense of seamless transition from space to space, and a restrained material palette enhances natural light and creates a high-quality, timeless feel.

“A bright, light palette in the workspace provides a spaciousness with small villages of open plan teams adjacent to fluid, soft forms which create their home base environment,” says Compton.

In 2017 Warren and Mahoney was awarded the “Best in Category for Architectural Design: Interior Design” at the Good Design Awards for
its refurbishment of the Auckland TVNZ Television Network Centre.

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With the key pieces of the Christchurch Blueprint now in place, the opportunity for our Christchurch studio is to continue to bring the skills we have developed through the rebuild to bear on future work in the city and regional centres.

Jonathan Coote

Warren and Mahoney has announced changes to the leadership of its Christchurch studio with the appointment of Jonathan Coote as Studio Principal. 

This change follows the announcement that Graeme Finlay, the current Christchurch studio Principal, will take over as Chairman of Warren and Mahoney Limited. 

“As we look beyond the rebuild to the next era, we are delighted to have Jono leading our established Christchurch Principal team,” says John Coop, Managing Director of Warren and Mahoney.

“Jono’s creative energy, combined with his practical experience in the design and delivery of major projects, puts him in a good position to lead our Christchurch Studio,” says Coop.

Jonathan Coote was brought up and educated in Christchurch, and after working on large-scale and boutique projects in the UK and Caribbean, joined Warren and Mahoney’s Christchurch studio in 2010. 

Since joining Warren and Mahoney, Jonathan has become a key member of the design team and has been involved in a wide range of architectural and interior projects of varying scales. 

Most recently, Jonathan has played an integral role in significant projects in Christchurch such as Lincoln University’s Ag Research Joint Facility, the PwC Centre, the recently announced masterplan scheme for Rolleston Town Centre, as well as Warren and Mahoney’s own studio in Christchurch.

Jonthan Coote says that he looks forward to the challenge of leading the Christchurch studio in post-earthquake environment. 

“I joined Warren and Mahoney at a time of significant change and growth. With the key pieces of the Christchurch Blueprint now in place, the opportunity for this studio is to continue to bring the skills we have developed through the rebuild to bear on future work in the city and regional centres that are in a growth phase,” says Coote.

 

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For visitors flying into Christchurch, the braided patterns of the Waimakariri River are a distinctive feature that signifies not only the beauty of our landscape but also the history and future of this city.

Richard Hanson

After a successful collaboration on the Transitional (Cardboard) Cathedral in Christchurch, innovative Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has again partnered with Warren and Mahoney on a commercial building in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square.

Inspired by the braided rivers of Canterbury, developer Richard Hanson says the building will be an iconic landmark anchoring the Southern corner of Cathedral Square and providing a visual prompt for oral tours of the city’s geology.

“For visitors flying into Christchurch, the braided patterns of the Waimakariri River are a distinctive feature that signifies not only the beauty of our landscape but also the history and future of this city.

“Christchurch has lost so many special buildings, so it is important that new buildings are of high quality and have a strong narrative. This is particularly important for Cathedral Square as it is still a strong tourism destination in the city,” says Hanson.

The building was commissioned by property owner Redson Corporation Holdings Limited for its tourism business Aotea Gifts. In addition to a flagship store for Aotea Gifts, Braided Rivers will also house a restaurant, courtyard-style café and other retail tenancies.

Shigeru Ban, a Pritzker Prize winning architect, has established himself as the master of unconventional materials. Braided Rivers utilises a glued laminated timber, or glulam, which is created by bonding layers of lumber together with high-grade adhesives.

The result is an engineered wood product that is stronger, lighter, cheaper and more environmentally-friendly than steel. To create the 41 ‘braided river’ columns in the building, a NZ pine glulam will be curved together to create the twisted column effect.

The interiors will be reflective of Ban’s signature style, with clean lines, warm materials and an abundance of natural light, aided by the building’s 10-metre high stud.

Warren and Mahoney, who approached Shigeru Ban on behalf of Aotea Gifts, will take SBA’s well-developed concept through to detailed design and ensure all of SBA’s design intent is met and delivered.

“As with the Transitional Cathedral, we have protocols in place to ensure Ban’s design is kept intact throughout the Resource Consent and Building Consent processes.

“Our deep understanding of the materials, NZ Codes and Standards and seismic requirements means that we can have the detailed conversations about construction methodology with the contractors, and loop through to the SBA team as required,” says Warren and Mahoney Principal Peter Marshall.

Resource Consent applications were lodged this week, and it is anticipated that construction will start in October 2018, with completion scheduled for late 2019.