65 Federal Street. Image Courtesy of Woods Bagot

65 Federal Street. Image Courtesy of Woods Bagot

Woods Bagot and Peddle Thorp have been announced as the winners of the international competition to create a new high-rise tower in central Auckland. Drawn from five finalists including Warren and Mahoney, Cox Architecture, Zaha Hadid Architects, and Elenberg Fraser, the winning design will stand 180m high. The building design is inspired by New Zealand’s natural landscape and the country’s unique geology and fauna.


65 Federal Street. Image Courtesy of Woods Bagot

65 Federal Street. Image Courtesy of Woods Bagot

Designed by Melbourne-based architects Woods Bagot, in partnership with local New Zealand firm Peddle Thorp, the building will be built a block away from the 237m high Sky Tower. The new multi-use high-rise will have 226 apartments, a 233-room 5-star hotel, and a ground floor Market Place. Pete Miglis, principal architect at Woods Bagot, says the project will transform Federal St and its surrounds, especially at street level with a focus on giving the streets back to the people. “It will also enhance the city’s skyline and importantly it’s all about a building that will reinforce Auckland as a global city.”


65 Federal Street. Image Courtesy of Woods Bagot

65 Federal Street. Image Courtesy of Woods Bagot

The core of the project was a desire for inclusive public space, from the street level to a roof-top Zen Garden with 360-degree views of Auckland. Miglis states that, “we know that the skyline defines a city’s identity, yet it is the streets – where people inhabit the city – that define its character. So, understanding the future vision for Auckland was important when designing the building’s lower level. Through Federal Street’s transformation into a pedestrian laneway, it has the potential to become a public destination, like a town square or public plaza, and that’s very much what we had in mind with the idea of a Market Place where local produce is on sale alongside restaurants and cafes.”

Richard Goldie, Director at Peddle Thorp, says the design has a strong sense of place and community, which will be highlighted by the use of curved and pleated timber in the building. “Our major civic buildings, the Auckland Museum and Auckland Art Gallery, both use timber to stunning effect. It’s the material with which we privilege our most significant buildings and the curved timber designs we have created will be prominent on the lower levels of 65 Federal St for everyone to see and share.”

The landmark tower competition was run by Melbourne-based property development company ICD Property. ICD launched the competition between the five architecture firms in July. Each of the teams were asked to complete two versions of their design, one following current city Unitary Plan rules and one version that could be built given more open planning parameters. ICD believes that the new $200m Auckland tower will contribute to the city’s future growth and development.


65 Federal Street. Image Courtesy of Woods Bagot

65 Federal Street. Image Courtesy of Woods Bagot

Architect and urban designer Julie Stout of the selection panel discussed how the design will enhance Auckland’s skyline and the street level experience. “The most elegant thing that Woods Bagot and Peddle Thorp did was address the street. They created a very active urban people space and populated it with every day activities like eating, shopping, and a market type environment. This area of Auckland is going to see exponential growth in the next 10 years with the Convention Centre, more hotels in SkyCity, and the City Rail Link being finished. There is going to be a flood of people into that area and Federal St will be a terrific laneway street and this building will create an interesting community building.”

ICD will take ownership of the site from Sky City in April 2019. Construction on the 65 Federal Street tower is expected to finish in 2022.

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