Wellington Scoop

Two new buildings to be added to parliamentary precinct


News from Precinct Properties
Precinct Properties, owner of the newly-refurbished Bowen State and Charles Fergusson buildings, has plans to develop another 20,000sqm of ‘high performance work space’ adjacent to the Beehive at 40 and 44 Bowen Street in Wellington. Precinct is inviting enquiry now from both corporate and government organisations.

The buildings promise to reinvigorate the parliamentary precinct, says Senior Development Manager, Ryan Carter.

“The Charles Fergusson and Bowen State buildings have been leased to government agencies from 2019 through to 2032. These two buildings alone will bring 3,500 people into the area. The addition of the two new buildings will complete Bowen Campus and bring the number of occupants across the four buildings to 5,000.”


Key to the buildings’ appeal will be the design’s flexibility on two fronts – firstly, the large, open plan floorplates and tailorable fitout, and, secondly, the ability of the buildings to resist multiple earthquakes without sustaining damage and impacting business continuity.

Architect Ewan Brown of Tennent Brown says that 40 and 44 Bowen are designed to cater to contemporary ways of working. Floor to ceiling glass and ceiling heights of 2.95m will maximise the light and views. Tennent Brown has tested a number of trial fitouts within the buildings to maximise the flexibility of the floor space. Occupiers will have the opportunity to work with Precinct to tailor the final fitout to their needs. Large organisations have the option of occupying both buildings. Naming rights are also on offer and the site has high visibility for commuters coming into the city.

Numbers 40 and 44 Bowen will be only the third new project in New Zealand to employ ‘fluid viscous dampers’ in the structural frame. The dampers work in a similar way to the shock absorbers in your car. The technology is common in California and Japan and Brown predicts it will become increasingly common in Wellington.

Brown says the buildings will reactivate a pocket of the city. Having a single owner in Precinct Properties means that 40 and 44 Bowen, Bowen State and Charles Fergusson can be treated as a precinct. The campus masterplan creates a network of partially covered laneways which will offer shelter from the wind and rain and attractive, landscaped public spaces.

The new buildings’ most visible face will be on Bowen Street and the architects have designed a faceted or ‘rippled’ façade that will create interesting reflections for passers-by. A generous, recessed colonnade will provide a covered walkway for pedestrians.

“The rippled façade and the laneways are designed to humanise the site. We wanted to include rather than exclude the public,” says Brown. “We know that people come from Thorndon across the Hill Street bridge and there’s some steps and a pathway that leads down to the railway station and the bottom of the Terrace. The site has been closed off for a few years so we’re reinstating and enhancing those pedestrian routes.”

Five thousand workers creates a critical mass that will keep the laneways active and support retail and food and beverage offerings. “The quality of these buildings is very high, particularly structurally, and a lot of work has gone into the user experience,” says Brown. “We’ve focused on making sure it’s not just a place of work but that the whole journey through the site, and to and from work, is enjoyable.”

Carter says that the fact that Precinct develops and retains its buildings is attractive to clients. “We have an investment philosophy based on the long-term ownership of our assets. That influences our decision-making in relation to design and construction. We look to develop and own high-quality, low maintenance buildings and we pride ourselves on being able to anticipate change and offer flexibility to our clients.”

Shock absorbers to limit quake damage