Willis Central Hero

Willis Central: arguably the best office environment in Wellington

In July 2008, Telecom signed an agreement with The Wellington Company to develop new purpose-built environmentally rated premises at 52 Willis St, Wellington. This would enable the company to relocate its staff, spread around several buildings, into one building. In late 2008, Hawkins was awarded the contract to construct this two tower plus atrium 30,000m² office and retail development.

The Wellington Company’s aim:

  • To provide the best office environment in Wellington incorporating the latest international environmental and sustainable design features.

What we did:

We were awarded the contract to construct this two tower plus atrium, 30,000m² office and retail development in late 2008. The building comprises 12 floors on the Willis Street side and 11 on Boulcott, including three levels of underground carparking.

The project involved extending the floor plate and adding further floors to an existing tower on Willis Street, and building a new tower on the Boulcott Street side.

The building incorporates the latest international environmental and sustainable design features and was awarded a 5 NZGBC Green Star rating.

The structure is predominantly reinforced concrete columns and beams with pre-stressed concrete floor system with in-situ concrete topping slabs. The two dramatic street façades incorporate alternating panels of sloping glass and the retained heritage façade of the existing Tisdall’s building which, along with a neighbouring 1980s concrete building, had to be maintained.

The Atrium is constructed as a glazed vertical "gap" between the two buildings.

The side walls are a mixture of solid wall utilising ribbed precast concrete panels and windows set back from the boundary and screened with metal fins to control solar gains.

Unique challenges:

  • Incorporating the reinforced structural frame of an existing 1980’s office building (the Airways Building) and the majority of the heritage-listed Tisdalls Building including the façade and historic internal stairway was a challenge.
    • The fit-out elements of the build were intricate and complex with an exposed services design being led by the low soffit heights in the existing Willis St structure.

The outcome:

The building was completed in December 2011. It has revitalised the lower Willis Street area and reached full occupancy after demonstrating its stability in the Wellington earthquakes in early-mid 2012. It is built on bedrock, has an A+ seismic rating and a 5 Green Star environmental rating.