CHARLES FERGUSSON TOWER

PROJECT TYPE: COMMERCIAL BUILDINGS

USE: OFFICE

LOCATION: BOWEN STREET, WELLINGTON

CLIENT: PRECINCT PROPERTIES

ARCHITECTS: WARREN AND MAHONEY

PROJECT TIMEFRAME: 2016 - 2018

AWARDS: WINNER, COMMERCIAL ARCHITECTURE CATEGORY, NZIA WELLINGTON ARCHITECTURE AWARDS 2019

In January 2019, 400 public sector staff moved into the rebuilt Charles Fergusson Tower (CFT) behind Parliament, the first of nearly 1400 who are expected to work there.

Opened in 1975, the tower comprises a basement, ground floor and 15 upper levels. Although solid, the building did not move during earthquakes and, after 44 years of constant use, it had become rundown, dark and dingy. The challenge was to deliver modern government office space within a structure designed in an earlier era.

The rebuild integrates CFT as part of a wider ‘Bowen campus’ development worth $350 million. This involves the adjacent Bowen State building (itself being rebuilt), and construction of two new office blocks at 40 and 44 Bowen Street.

At the job’s peak, 200 people were on site. The major changes include the overall recladding; repositioning and enhancement of the building entry lobby (including a double height atrium); seismic strengthening to 100% of National Building Standard; new lift systems and mechanical services; a façade extension to provide extra floor space; and a new modern crown and basebuild fitout. Hugely improved interior lighting, ventilation and work spaces have made CFT a far healthier working environment.

During the job, which was delivered on time and within budget, numerous steps were taken to develop a good rapport with neighbours who include residents of a row of townhouses, and children and staff in the parliamentary crèche. “Your team have been excellent neighbours,” wrote the crèche manager at the end of the project.