Text description provided by the architects. The Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct combines the lifestyle opportunities of Auckland and New Zealand with a globally competitive hub for innovation and research. In the transformation from ‘industry’ to ‘innovation’, the precinct seeks to reconnect the story of Auckland’s waterfront with regeneration and entrepreneurship.
The Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct (WQIP) masterplan envisages an active, laneway-based, mixed-use community of innovation, residential and retail uses. The 12 Madden project, located at the heart of this precinct, is a 6-storey commercial building comprising of 8700 square metres of floorspace designed to meet the needs of the contemporary workplace.
The speculative commercial office building is potentially the most banal of architectural briefs – with generic tenants often deriving generic outcomes. However, the 12 Madden project was conceived from the outset as an enabler of the public realm – a building which can define and activate adjacent laneways, introducing a strong sense of human scale and an authentic character into a new part of the city. Perhaps uniquely, the project is equally informed by external (urban) and internal (workplace) influences.
The precinct contains a number of existing industrial buildings. It is rare for a collection of such character and functional heritage to have been retained along Auckland’s waterfront, and this was identified as a powerful asset for the development.
The architectural approach of the 12 Madden project responds to the form and materiality of these existing character buildings – ensuring that the resulting architectural form is ‘grounded’ in the industrial legacy of the waterfront through a vertically stratified massing approach.
This is conceived in three layers: a highly articulated, textural brick base with ‘punched’ openings; a terrace datum above – which provides an inhabited ‘negative’ between upper and lower masses; and a more highly-glazed upper-level façade. This approach is effective in reducing the scale of the project as experienced from the adjacent lanes, providing a 1-2 storey spatial datum that enables activation and connection with the terraces. The overhanging upper-level facades on the North and South elevations incorporate sliding doors that enable visual connections, while also delivering mixed-mode ventilation – a visible expression of the project’s ‘5-star Greenstar’ sustainability credentials.
12 Madden adopts an industrial materiality (brick, steel, timber, glass) and presents highly textural, active edges to all public laneways – a ‘raw’ rather than ‘refined’ expression. Exposed structural systems enhance and contribute to the innovation character and aspirations of the precinct. At a city-wide level, the building adopts a highly-modelled roofscape echoing the familiar ‘sawtooth’ form of industry.
The building and the wider precinct aspires to reflect the emerging identity of Auckland as a young, multi-cultural, ambitious, South Pacific city. The Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct will be a destination for all Aucklanders - the public face of an innovative city, and a vibrant and accessible place that will entertain, inform and inspire.
In this manner, the project addresses the central challenge – to contribute to the creation of a new precinct in the city, delivering an experience which is authentically linked to the industrial legacy of the site, and which is open and welcoming to all. The project is the deliberate antithesis of the soulless commercial office park.