Client: Willis Street Holdings Limited
Project Type: Multi-Use Residential
Project Timeframe: 2008 - 2009
Architects: Athfield Architects
Awards: Property Council Of New Zealand Supreme Award
“We were impressed with the total scope of the project, the attention to detail, the commitment to the concept of incorporating old with new and delivering premium quality accommodation in a revitalised environment.” Judges, Property Council of New Zealand Awards 2009
The completed Chews Lane Apartments were a runaway success with the first 70 of the 97 apartments, worth $40-$50 million, selling within three hours of being put on the market.
They occupy the 12-storey tower that straddles the two Chews Lane podia between Victoria and Willis Streets. Access is via the 200-bay residents’ car park or the pedestrian-only Chews Lane. With retail stores and food and beverage outlets on the doorstep, the job had to blend the different requirements of apartments, offices, car parks and retail.
The podias’ lower levels were largely occupied in 2008 when work began on the tower. A project of that scale in the heart of Wellington’s CBD meant dealing with tight access, dust and noise, bustling streets below and surrounding high-rise buildings full of office workers. The risks increased as the apartment floors went up, in part because of the intense wind funnelled between the rising tower and the nearby 26-storey BNZ building.
The tower was one of the city’s biggest steel jobs of its time with the steel imported from Australia and Singapore. Among steel’s advantages is its ability to provide seismic load and wind resistance while maintaining maximum openings for the spectacular views.
Craning in the panels for the curved exterior while avoiding the balconies and cantilevered scaffolding was a delicate task, especially near the end of the job because of the differently-detailed penthouses and extended roof.
The floor-to-ceiling acoustic windows are strong enough to withstand the high winds while maximising views and the sunlight. Apartment residents look down on the landscaped outdoor area on top of 60 Victoria Street, across the civic centre to the harbour and hills beyond.