Bowen House

Project Summary

Client: Precinct Properties

Project Type: Government

Project Timeframe: NOV 2020 - JULY 2023

Architects: Tennent Brown Architects


Bowen House

Project Description

The seven-storey 44 Bowen project successfully completes the fourth and final stage of the Bowen campus behind Parliament. It connects to earlier campus stages, Defence House and Charles Fergusson Tower, via a shared atrium and sheltered and landscaped laneways. The campus is now home to over 5000 private and public sector employees. 

The building was originally intended for government tenants but that changed during construction. During the fully integrated office fitouts two tenants, Waka Kotahi (L0–5) and KPMG (L6–7), opted to install feature stairs. The KPMG stair is curved with oak veneer panelling. A lightwell in the void has cultural panels up to 6m tall that embody the stories of Te Āti Awa people and place in the new building.

Underneath 44 Bowen is a crumbling piece of critical Wellington infrastructure, the Main Sewer Interceptor. No load could be placed on it; LT McGuinness had to pour highly technical reinforced concrete bridge beams over the top.

The building is striking, with vertical glazed facades that create a rippling reflective effect to evoke the Waipiro Stream which historically flowed through the site. This ripple concept, ‘Te Auripo’, inspired the design of patterns, lighting and sculpture.

44 Bowen, which had 300 people onsite at the project’s peak, is 5-star Green Star certified. Energy modelling gave it around 50% of the ongoing energy consumption of a standard code-compliant development.

One environmental innovation—using Silica Fume and Flyash as an alternative to cement in the concrete—saved the use of 350,000kgs of CO2. That amount of carbon could be used to drive the latest Hilux Ute to the moon and back, twice!

The building has exceptional seismic resilience. The structural design uses fluid viscous dampers (FVDs) that have pistons and steel cylinders and contain fluid chambers designed to dissipate earthquake energy and turn it into heat. The FVDs are sealed units and require no ongoing maintenance/testing or certification, only visual inspections. It will be business as usual for building tenants after a major earthquake.

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