Developer: Precinct Properties
* Blair Johnston
* Warren and Mahoney
Location: Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, New Zealand
By Colin Galloway
Located in an older part of Auckland’s harbour area that has long served as a base for fishing, shipbuilding, and various industrial purposes, New Zealand’s Mason Bros project involves the adaptive reuse of a character warehouse that served originally as a heavy engineering factory, and more recently as a manufacturing base for high-end yacht masts.
After regeneration, the building has been transformed into a contemporary three-storey commercial development featuring 5,700 square meters of large-format commercial floorspace.
From the start, designers were intent on preserving as much of the original features of the building as possible. By leveraging the existing gantry crane framework to support new floors, they were able to retain almost all the pre-existing structure, together with significant portions of the façade and foundations. They were also able to raise the building’s seismic standard from just 20% of NBS (New Building Standard) to 100%.
The end result is a modern, high-performing workspace that has simultaneously preserved the industrial legacy of the original. In particular, the structure retains a dramatic saw-tooth roof that now funnels south light into a 60-metre internal lane running down the length of the building.
Given the age and nature of the original structure, the redeveloped version is remarkably sustainable. Known today as one of New Zealand’s greenest buildings, it has won multiple certifications, including 6-Star Green Star and NABERSNZ 5.5 Star. Sustainable features include CO2 control of outdoor air rates, variable-speed EC fan coil units, and daylight and zone-based automatic light switching.
The project has proved popular with occupiers, who report improved productivity and an overall 25% drop in absenteeism. It is also frequently used as a public amenity, hosting numerous events ranging from innovation showcases to fashion shows.
While redevelopment costs were relatively low, the scheme has had a disproportionately large impact on the surrounding area. Land was sold at a discounted price by the city government as part of a longstanding initiative, in collaboration private sector developers and designers, to revitalise the area while simultaneously preserving its character and industrial history. The goal was to create a high-quality nucleus that would act as a catalyst for regeneration
of the surrounding neighbourhood as a mixed-use, sustainable, waterfront community.
To that extent, the plan has been strikingly successful. New investment and development activity has followed, breathing life to an area situated not far from Auckland’s CBD but whose potential had been long been neglected after original industrial users moved away. Land values in the area have now risen
Today, Mason Bros has emerged as the centrepiece for a neighbourhood that links various evolving residential and commercial precincts, and can be seen as a template for future public/private partnerships in New Zealand that aim to boost local land values by reviving formerly run-down or neglected areas.