Largest mass timber office for Tauranga with zero carbon footprint

29 June 2022

David Rowlinson

Tauranga City Council’s new office building is set to be the largest mass timber office building in New Zealand and will target a net zero carbon footprint for the building’s construction process.

Property development and investment company Willis Bond has worked alongside Warren and Mahoney architects to design the 10,000 square metre building, which uses engineered timber in place of most traditional concrete and steel elements, with a view to reducing embodied carbon – carbon emitted through the manufacturing, transportation and installation of building materials and components – to its lowest possible point.

The building also features rainwater harvesting, electric vehicle charging and facilities that encourage active transport options. The building is targeting the highest 6 Green Star – Design and As-Built NZv1.0 – Design Review Rating, demonstrating world leadership in sustainability.

Willis Bond Executive Chair Mark McGuinness says the project sets a new precedent for innovative and sustainable building design in New Zealand.

“Our goal is always to keep as much carbon in the ground as possible and to walk with a light footprint. What makes this project unique is the scale at which we’ve been able to achieve this,” Mr McGuinness said.

Tauranga City Council last year confirmed the leased building would accommodate all council administration staff under one roof. This was followed by Council’s recent approval of the Refreshed Civic Masterplan, Te Manawataki O Te Papa, which will see the development of a new Civic Whare (public meeting house), Library, Museum and Exhibition space in Tauranga’s city centre over the next eight years.

Commission Chair Anne Tolley says sustainable outcomes were front of mind when considering a new, purpose-built office space.

“We wanted to push the boundaries to design a wholly-sustainable, future-focused workplace which maximises the use of natural materials, such as the exposed timber columns which celebrate the uniqueness of the building,” Ms Tolley said.

“This will be our home for at least the duration of the 15-year lease, so it’s important that we get it right and create a facility that both speaks to its Tauranga Moana origins and provides a welcoming and people-friendly space for our staff and the community.”

Construction of the building is expected to commence in late-2022 and be completed before the end of 2024.

Article first appeared in Australasian Timber

Photo of the author: David Rowlinson
David Rowlinson

David hails from Lancashire, England and has lived in Australia since 1994. He studied Architecture at Sheffield University and also has an MBA from Macquarie University and a Master of Marketing from UNSW. Prior to joining Planet Ark in 2016 David was Marketing Manager then CEO of a major Sydney-based manufacturer of modular carpets used in all commercial building applications. His proudest achievement was the development of an industry-leading environmental sustainability agenda, including the unique Earthplus product reuse program.

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