• Johnsonville Corner erterior view
  • Johnsonville Corner erterior view

912 Johnsonville Corner

  • Johnsonville Corner ground floor
  • Johnsonville Corner facade system
The building is like a rock in a river of infrastructures

Client: Autostop Ltd

Location: Wellington, New Zealand

Site: 2-4 Johnsonville Rd.

Design: 2009

Program: 9000 m2 office & retail, with internal court underground carparking

Cost: NZ$ 18M


Alistair Scott, Chris Moller, HMA

Given Johnsonville Corner’s context between infrastructures we imagine an architecture informed by these infrastructural flows. The building is like a rock in a river of infrastructures, between road, rail and motorway, thus we propose a building of bold proportions wrapped in an elegant fluid skin which mediates light in and views out. A rock is also long lasting thus the bones of the building are carefully proportioned to give strength and flexibility of use over time.

The design concept is based on four components: – two identical blocks sharing a central core; a structural grid which facilitates diverse uses of office, retail and carpark; a protected inner court; an elegant second skin; Together these components provide a high quality, yet calm and flexible building on the main arterial route to provide high profile A1 office and retail facilities at a highly competitive construction cost. The skin is like a filter, or car grill, it must negotiate and mediate the flow around it and through it.

The Skin is to be realized in a unique composition of prefabricated CNC cut panels cantilevered off the structural floor slabs. A highly efficient yet simple layout has been chosen for the office buildings. Two simple 15 meter deep rectangular building blocks are strategically located to maximize east-west orientation, and direct street frontage to reinforce the existing street quality for pedestrians. In particular this encourages a strong and visually interesting pedestrian realm with optimum sized retail units for shops, cafes etc. The geometry of the buildings provide a simple to build, highly efficient floor plate with maximum penetration of natural daylighting to reduce running costs, and ensure high quality office space.

To optimize the requirements for efficient carparking, flexible office space, and ideal retail units, requires in an integrated approach to provide an ideal building grid that works effectively for all three very different needs. Structural logic driven by response for the ideal building layout for both the short and long term. Between the two buildings is a hidden internal court off the busy streets, providing a garden surrounded by the McDonalds drive-in loop and on-grade parking, and green walls to the office building above to provide lush planting of mosses, ferns, and epiphytes which provide a wonderfully ambient inner space, and oxygen rich planting which absorbs CO2 produced by the cars.