‘Shimmering’ tower on city skyline
At 57 storeys high and measuring 178 metres tall, The Pacifica will be one of New Zealand’s highest residential towers.
“Previous experience in large scale buildings was invaluable to the design process,” says Jaimin Atkins, one of the directors of Plus Architecture, the Auckland and Christchurch based studio responsible for the design.
“As a firm we bring a lot of international experience to the New Zealand market as well as a fresh design look and aesthetic.”
Jaimin says the driving force behind the design of The Pacifica was to celebrate the height of the building by aesthetically expressing its verticality which would stand out against the largely horizontal aesthetic of t he existing skyline of Auckland’s CBD.
“The four glass ‘columns’ on each corner of the towers corner denote the four main interfaces of the site at ground level, which, as the building rises, form a distinctive ‘twist’ pattern, reminiscent of the Maori pikupiku fern, that then rise vertically into the sky.
The building’s shimmering glass façade is designed to be reminiscent of the sparkling waters of the Waitemata Harbour and will reflect the surrounding city and waterfront,” he says The Pacifica will offer 282 apartments, some of which will have views out to Great Barrier Island.
Apartments above the 26th floor will have enclosed winter gardens while some lower level apartments offer balconies.
The building will also include amenities such as a lap pool, sauna, steam room, spa, gym and yoga studio, residents’ lounge, library and barbeque terrace.
A 35-suite boutique hotel, high end restaurant and café will be on the lower levels, as well as a new laneway which will help activate the site at ground level, encouraging pedestrian traffic.
The Pacifica is developed by Hengyi Pacific, an affiliate of Chinese company Shandong HYI, who have already undertaken similar developments in Melbourne such as The William, Lighthouse and Swanston Central.
With the scope including interior design and construction documentation – a particular expertise of Plus – the scale of this project drew on experience in large scale design from across the Plus Architecture network, says Jaimin.
With Australian studios in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, Plus expanded into the New Zealand
market in 2015 with offices in Auckland and Christchurch.
One of the company’s inaugural projects in New Zealand was the St Martin’s Community Centre in Christchurch.
Approximately 200 square metres in area, Jaimin says that the new community centre could easily be mistaken for a house.
Plus Architecture’s design features a single storey with pitched roofs and utilises recycled bricks from houses in the surrounding area damaged in the Christchurch earthquakes.
“Conceived as a home, but with a library, meeting rooms and other community facilities, there’s a strong sense of nurturing and domesticity.
We wanted to take a community approach to architecture, demonstrating that you can produce a beautiful building but with an understanding of how to spend money to get the most bang for buck for the community,” he says.
Jaimin says the aim was to create a multi-use building and for that reason Plus Architecture shied away from designing spaces for specific uses, particularly with regards to the exterior spaces.
“You can put a seat outside for people to sit on but a jogger might lean on it to do stretches, someone else might lie down on it or tie their dog to it.
We wanted to design a building people could use – internally and externally – in a multitude of ways so it invites interpretation.
“If you design spaces that are nice to be in people will choose how they want to use them. St Martins Community Centre is a building that is not defined by its definition but by its lack of definition.”
Jaimin says no matter what the project Plus Architecture brings a unique approach to every commission and doesn’t have a distinct ‘style’.
“We design to suit the client and site. Both are driving factors in the influence of the resulting design so the building is in context and place.”
The company is currently working on a number of large and medium scale projects and the practice is expanding rapidly.
“We only set up in New Zealand two years ago and we already have two offices with eight staff in Christchurch and twelve in Auckland.
“We’re conscious of growing organically and sustainably so we continue to achieve positive outcomes for our clients.”