Home > About > News > Wellington's PwC Centre scoops the sought-after award for supreme commercial project

Wellington's PwC Centre scoops the sought-after award for supreme commercial project

17 May 2019. Source: Stuff.co.nz
PwC Centre News Image

Wellington's PwC Centre has scooped the coveted top prize of Supreme Commercial Project of the year 2019 for its world-leading base isolation design at the annual New Zealand Commercial Project Awards. 

Buildings as diverse as Christchurch's new library and its restored Rose Chapel, a toilet block in Ashburton, the five-level PwC Centre, a huge cardboard factory in Waikato and South Auckland's new The Gardens School have been judged some of New Zealand's best commercial projects for 2019.

At a gala dinner in Auckland on Friday, the awards, owned and run by the Registered Master Builders Association, showcased and celebrated the talent and skill of the New Zealand construction industry, which has been overshadowed in the past year with building company collapses and industry struggles.

Registered Master Builders chief executive David Kelly said the awards recognised the contribution of the whole project team rather than just the building itself.

The high calibre of entries reflected the skill and diversity of commercial construction in New Zealand, he said.

"The PwC Centre is an impressive build as the design has pushed the structural engineering envelope in New Zealand and is a world leader when it comes to base isolation foundation design," the judges said.

The project team faced numerous challenges, including below sea level conditions, the installation of 1200 piles interlocked together to create a cellular concrete wall structure, and designing to 5-Green Star rating, and delivered on time and budget.

"This project team had some early setbacks including project delays and challenging inherent ground conditions. Despite this, Willis Bond and LT McGuinness delivered a stunning, well-balanced, award-winning five-level building at a prime Wellington waterfront location," the judges said.

As well as the supreme award, the PwC Centre, designed by Athfield Architects, also took out the national Commercial Project Award and the award for a project of more than $15 million.

The building was developed by Wellington's Willis Bond & Co and built by sister construction company LT McGuinness. It was sold even before it was built to a Palmerston North investor for nearly $90 million. Accountancy firm PwC occupies two levels and has the naming rights. it has a seismic rating of 180 per cent of the New Building Standard.

Turanga-Christchurch Central Library scooped the civic category national award. Judges praised the high level of skill that went into producing "a fantastic result".

"The build goes beyond a traditional library and demonstrates the team's commitment to excellence," they said.

In Christchurch, the Rose Chapel, in Colombo Street, owned by the Christchurch City Council, won the national heritage-restoration award for the reconstruction team's efforts and collaboration in restoring it to its former glory.

"The build brings modern structural elements and embeds them into historic fabrics in a way that is respectful and allows the original building to shine," the judges said.

The retail category award was won by the new Hoyts entX cinema complex in central Christchurch developed by leading construction company Calder Stewart for Hoyts.

It features 19 eateries, seven cinemas over three levels and meets a New Building Standard of 140 per cent. The judges said the building delivered a world-class entertainment and dining experience.

In Hamilton, the Visy Project, the construction of a huge new cardboard factory of 36,000 square metres, won the industrial category while The Mezz Box, a striking addition to a main street Hamilton building won the national innovation category.

The judges praised the Visy project for being completed in an extraordinarily short timeframe and for excellent collaboration and communication between client, consultant and construction team.

Regarding The Mezz Box, the judges were impressed with the decision to construct the new addition on the ground adjacent to the existing building and then lift it into place using one of New Zealand's biggest mobile cranes. That solution sped up the construction, improved quality control and reduced the impact on existing tenants.

The project under $2m category was won by the Farmers Corner Toilet Pavilion.

The judges said the team used ground-breaking timber engineering to form a fully exposed structural frame which supported a sloping glass roof.  The prime feature was the clear glass walls in the toilets allowing unobstructed views to fields and neighbouring grazing alpacas.

"The result is a facility where a visit to the toilet has become a photo opportunity exceeding expectations," the judges said.

Developers Willis Bond and construction company LT McGuinness scooped another national award, the residential category, for Wynyard Central, a waterfront development in the Auckland CBD of 113 townhouses, apartments and pavilions.

Judges said Wynyard Central was an elegant example of thoughtful urban design. 

The Gardens School in Manurewa, South Auckland, took out the education category for its rebuild of the school, originally to be a repair of a leaky school.

Judges were impressed that the project team overcame their challenges on an extremely tight budget and were able to deliver a project in just 17 months. The result was an exceptional open plan learning environment reflective of the community's expectations, they said.

Wellington Hospital's ICU expansion won the national health category award while the Te Manawa Atawhai Catherine McAuley Centre in Christchurch was described by judges as as a spectacular building which captured the history of the Sisters of Mercy and their relationship with the West Coast.

Read this article on stuff