Bowen Integrated Campus
From the Dom
Space-age atrium for office block
DAVE BURGESS - The Dominion Post | Tuesday, 04 December 2007
A huge self-inflating, space-age atrium would provide a social and retail hub for a controversial office block proposed for Bowen St, its architects say.
Under the proposal – which Parliament has objected to, fearing it would dominate the parliamentary precinct – new seven- or eight-storey facades would be attached to the Bowen State Building and Charles Fergusson Tower.
A new seven- or eight-storey building would also be built. It would enclose the space planned for the 3600-square-metre atrium. The six-storey Charles Fergusson annexe building would be demolished.
The development would run from the edge of Bowen St to the border of "sculpture park" created by the demolition of Broadcasting House.
Three resource consent commissioners heard evidence yesterday in support of the Capital Properties New Zealand proposal, to be known as Bowen Integrated Campus.
Architect Jon Craig, a director of Craig Craig Moller Architects, said the atrium would be covered by a plastic originally developed for the space industry.
"The material is practically clear, self-cleaning, lightweight, and insulated as it is made into a pillow continually inflated by small air pumps.
"Most importantly, it allows UV light to penetrate, allowing the atrium to grow trees and shrubs," he said.
A cafe in Bowen St would back on to the atrium, which would provide access to up to 15 shops.
"Retail facilities envisaged are cafe, hairdresser, dry cleaner, books, magazines, music, ATM, medical, dentist, pharmacy, photos, and coffee and muffin carts," Mr Craig said.
The wind-free atrium, which would have seating areas that incorporated heated and insulated concrete slabs, would have natural ventilation through mechanically controlled glass louvres.
A 50-child creche, accessible from the atrium, is also on the drawing board.
The proposed 83,700-square- metre redevelopment would more than double the existing office space to nearly 59,000 sq m.
The Social Development Ministry occupies 84 per cent of the office space at present. The rest is leased by the Justice Ministry.
The Parliamentary Service Commission opposed the proposal on the grounds that it would have a negative impact on the parliamentary heritage area, that it does not respect Parliament buildings, and that the shadow cast by the development would be excessive.
The commission's evidence will be heard later in the hearing, which is expected to end on Thursday.