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Heritage redevelopment brings satisfaction

Heritage redevelopment brings satisfaction
HMOA has completed a three-year project to redesign and refurbish Wellington’s heritage-listed Harbour City Centre annex.

Since founding Wellington-based architectural practice in 1997, Max Herriot, along with fellow directors John Melhuish, Duval O’Neil and Matt Pearson have established a strong reputation for producing beautifully crafted bespoke buildingsWhile John works out of the Wellington studio with Max, Duval anchors the Christchurch practice and Matt is based in Auckland.

HMOA also has a studio in Tauranga overseen by architect Jenny Duck.With the use of real-time integrated design and communication software there is still a strong collaborative approach to specific projects, something Max says is a real strength.

“It means everyone can work collectively on projects together utilising the skill sets across the offices to create a depth of architectural resolution and bring about the best possible outcomes for our clients.”

Another key-strength in having studios in key regions throughout New Zealand is that it levels-off the impact of one region experiencing a period of slower activity.

“It means there’s ongoing demand for our services as the regional markets go up and down.” Late last year Max and the team completed a substantial three-year long project redesigning and refurbishing the iconic heritage-listed Harbour City Centre annex bounded by Brandon Street and Panama Street.

Wellingtonians have had a long connection to the building, originally home to the city’s DIC department store. Design processes began in 2016 with construction commencing a year later.

There were several critical elements to the project, which began with separating the existing services from the connected front building and creating a new service core for the annex as part of the base build strengthening and refurbishment.

Beyond this and as part of an integrated fit out the other critical element was creating a large and open corporate space occupying three levels for Investment, Wealth Management and Financial Advisor business FNZ to occupy as key lease-holders.

By including a striking staircase in the centre of the building and constructing a large skylight structure to allow light to flood in and down through the levels, there’s a feeling of lightness and warmth.

This was important to achieve given the 55 metre distance between the Brandon Street and Panama Street facades – to reduce the potential for darker areas a long way from natural light. Original leadlight windows on the Brandon Stret façade, on one level, have been preserved as a nod to the past.

Another strong theme throughout the design is making some sense architecturally of the use of structural steel as a strengthening element. These large features, along with the columns, have been painted in shades of grey, while the central stair-case is clad in black steel, balanced with the use of timber screens.

The third level was completely rebuilt, replacing the existing dilapidated structure and an old caretaker cottage on the top floor.Each floor of the FNZ fit out is distinguished by a different colour wave that connects one with the other to bring about a sense of consistency.

FNZ also commissioned some impressive art pieces by local Wellington artists which are displayed on each floor, adding a striking visual impact.Car-parking and acess ramp have been relocated from Brandon Street to Panama Street giving the opportunity to create a new entry with a Brandon Street address.

“We are very proud of what has been achieved in breathing new life into a tired old building, one that will offer those working inside its three floors a really positive working environment, with a strong open-plan feel.”

Another restoration project at 135 Jackson Street, Petone, Lower Hutt, saw a two-storey, heritage-listed corner site commercial precinct, brought up to code with four apartments above totally redesigned. “These apartments range in size from 120-141sqsm. Each has three bedrooms, is north facing with a deck.

We’re very happy with how the new apartments have integrated with the existing heritage building, and how the use of old and new materials have linked present with past. “The client made a real financial commitment to the project, It was an expensive project but looking at the end result it really adds to the local Jackson Street environment.”

Existing native timber joists have been given new life upcycled into kitchen joinery while old floorboards have become a floating floor in one of the apartments.Max says working on heritage buildings is challenging, given the uncertainty that exists when old structures are opened up, however it is an area of design that HMOA has long experience in undertaking.

“We have done a lot of work on these fine old heritage buildings and its really satisfying to see how they can be transformed and reinhabited, while retaining their distinct proud history.”

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