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More details on the Elliott Tower

Since it was announced just under two weeks ago there has been a lot of interest in the  proposal to build a massive tower on the empty site that is bounded by Elliott St, Victoria St and Albert St yet there has been very few details released about the building. The tower had previously been consented back in 2007 but the new owner of the site wanted to make some changes. Reader Steve D lodged an OIA request for the new resource consent documents that has just been approved. Those documents provide quite a bit of interesting information, some new images of the building, some good aspects to the building and some not so good ones.

Here are a few new images of what it will look like, there are more in this document.

NDG Centre 1

NDG Centre 2

NDG Centre 3

NDG Centre 4

The good news is that the building will have direct access to the Aotea CRL station and like I suggested in this post, it will be diagonally across the site which will be needed because of the annoying slip lane beside Albert St. It also looks like the building will be accessed off the proposed exit into the Victoria St Linear Park.

NDG Centre CRL LinkIt’s been reported that there will be 300 carparks in the building in six basement levels. that carpark will be accessed from the slip lane off Albert St and gets through the building to the basement on that white box on the right hand side of the image above. What’s more is that number of carparks is actually less than what  was originally consented when the tower proposal which was 481.

The biggest concern is that like the other hotels on Albert St, there will be a large Porte Cochere. When combined with the entrance to the slip lane it’s potentially going to make things quite challenging for pedestrians walking along Albert St. It appears that the plan is to retain the existing footpath on Albert St while also having one through the Porte Cochere. In the image below you can see this and the entrance to the slip lane and carpark.

NDG Centre Porte Cochere

Steve D has also been looking through some of the info and pulled out a couple of interesting/concerning bits like that to minimise the impact of trucks on city streets for the 30 months of construction, it’s expected that most will access the site via the Elliott St shared space. In my opinion this is insane. The current city centre plans call for reducing the width of Victoria St with a linear park. Why not get started on narrowing it down and use the space intended on it for trucks. The linear park could then be constructed at the same time/as the building is nearing completion.

There will also be space for bikes in the carpark along with changing rooms/showers although it appears it will likely be residents only.

This building is definitely going to change the area considerably.

55 comments to More details on the Elliott Tower

  • Fred

    Crikey it’s huge!

  • Luke E

    Good news about the Aotea connection! Shame about the slip lane though. Nice renders, this building grows on me with each new set uncovered. Think it will be a great addition to the streetscape.

    Trucks on Elliott Street though… Wtf?

  • Very pleased to have this site developed, and at scale, but this looks like a very poor design, in as much as can be told from these renders. 70/80s glass box, and not in a good way. Very disappointing. The ski jump!? The forms? Really?

    • Bob

      totally agree, just a generic glass box skyscraper. Nothing special or iconic about it.

    • obi

      It does seem to be a hodge podge of architectural features thrown together. I don’t see any coherence to the design.

      On a different matter… At the moment, Auckland’s skyline is dominated by the Sky Tower, which also serves to distinguish our skyline from that of other more-generic high rise cities. This is the first development that challenges the Sky Tower for skyline prominence. I don’t see a sudden redevelopment of the city with skyscrapers, but do we have a long term interest in ensuring that the Sky Tower continues to stand out above neighbouring buildings?

      • Yes that’s an interesting question. The skytower dominates the skyline but it only does that because it got in first. Does or should Skycity have a monopoly on skyline defining buildings?

        • Greg N

          And just as important, who gets to decide on this – Auckland and Aucklanders (through their Council) or whatever design some Johnny come last developer wants to stick up on whatever piece of land they got dirt cheap?

          When Skytower was proposed, its “skyline defining” design and position on the Hobson ridge was part of the reason it was allowed to go ahead (and why it was moved from the proposed position on the site near Khyber Pass Road).

          Now we have it in place for 20+ years, is it iconic enough to be left alone like say the Eiffel Tower?
          Or should we now say f**k it lets crowd it out with other buildings?

          I don’t know about you – but I think those decisions should be Aucklands to make and not the developers.

          • Not saying I agree or disagree about the building but don’t Aucklanders do get a say through how the planning rules are written with the consent processes that are in place. Not sure we should subject every tall building to a public vote.

            Here is another view of it compared to the skytower, doesn’t look too crowded from this angle (which is of course only one)

          • Greg N

            We do get a say now. and we are told that the “look” of all buidling are subject to Urban Design Criteria/Panel/”Urban Design Manual” which will ensure only the best designs get approved.

            But when developers skirt the rules by getting their buildings approved in a non-publicly notified manor as merely “minor variations” of a previously consented design, it makes a complete mockery of these rules doesn’t it?

            We can have all the design rules we like in place now and this building would be exempt every single one of them because the previous rules (from a decade ago) allowed this sort of thing “as of right”. And because this all preceded Auckland city Councils Urban Design Panel criteria/process it appears the developer/designer has cynically abused that fact to shove through this design.

            I know that the building still needs building consent, but its basically a done deal now and no council planners can stop it.

            If it was say further left (next to the ANZ building or Vero Tower) it would be passable to some degree – but to be where it is it really shows up how bad a design it is.

            I can see the nickname for this building now – “The Clothes Peg” – the design looks like the scaled up version of those spring loaded wooden clothes pegs everyone used to have.

      • Steve D

        Not that I necessarily disagree with you, but I’d love to go back in time ~20 years to when the Sky Tower was proposed, and tell people that in our time we’re so proud of the it, that we’re considering stopping another building that might ruin our view of said Sky Tower. Just to see the looks on their faces.

  • Jon Reeves

    Trucks in the shared space – crazy! Who the hell approved that in Auckland Council????

  • Geogoose

    What exactly is the point of that slip lane again?

  • Christopher T

    And the architects are? Even in Sydney, if they’re building a project of this scale, there’s usually a well-known architect’s name associated with the project often in order to check some of the more usual design infelicities, if nothing else. No, it seems that in Auckland we’re going to get what would appear to be some engineer’s impression of what modern design looked like the last time the responsible person picked up a glossy commercial architecture magazine (about 20 years ago, on the basis of these plans). It’s a dog of a building which will do nothing in terms of improving the local urban landscape other than filling an unsightly hole that any decent council would have demanded be dealt with decades ago. It has an uncanny resemblance to all those crap design and build nightmares put up by the, thankfully bankrupted, Chase Corporation in the 1980s. It seems that we still haven’t learned a thing when it comes to urban design.

    • Architect is http://www.paulbrownarchitects.com/
      Worth also noting that I understand the general shape of the building is largely what was originally consented from the previous scheme which was designed by Moller. Probably didn’t want to stray too far from that in case it made the consenting process much more difficult.

      • No Matt the envelope is similar, ie the space it occupies, but this is substantially different in form. IIRC Moller’s design did not have glass curtain walls or huge vertical fins. It had a much more depth to its surface and the floors were expressed so it had a horizontal pattern. This tower looks unrelenting yet the base fiddly. Anyone else think the fins make look like a huge radiator?

        • I’m not arguing the architectural merits of the building (or lack of them) just pointing out that that the general shape wasn’t going to be changed that much. What Moller designed was a tall slender building similar to this and the new plans weren’t suddenly going to be changed into square box as that would have been a substantial change to what had already been consented and allowed the likes of Skycity to re-litigate the issue.

          And yes it does look like a radiator, that had crossed my mind too.

          I understand this is one of the old designs and yes had a horizontal pattern to them.

          This is another one of the early designs

        • Greg N

          Hah!, funny you say that.

          The first thing I though when I saw this was that it was nothing more than a giant heat sink (“radiator”)
          – the kind you’d see inside some electronic kit in a computer server room somewhere – except magnified a million times in size.

          Overall this is a very sucky design.

          You could put a very good design there and make a truly iconic statement. This one isn’t one of those – this is nothing but a cynical attempt to maximise private profit at the expense of all the other spaces (public and private) around it and contributes nothing positive to the Auckland skyline – except fills a hole in the ground.
          As such its cheap and nasty and my only hope is that the developer goes broke and the project is canned before it gets too far off the ground.

          I’d prefer the hole in the ground be left full of cars rather than see this ugly monster go up
          – at least a hole in the ground doesn’t offend the eye from all over Auckland like this one will.

          • Loraxus

            > I’d prefer the hole in the ground be left full of cars rather than see this ugly monster go up
            > – at least a hole in the ground doesn’t offend the eye from all over Auckland like this one will.

            Guess I am one of the only ones here who thinks it looks good. I kind of agree that the base looks over-complicated, but that is the part that is easiest to change until construction or later. I actually quite like the radiator fins… taste differs, and even those who wont ever think it great will get used to it.

          • jonno1

            Haha, my first thought too, radiator/heat sink. Maybe it actually is a radiator and a cunning part of the aircon system design. Still, it’s more interesting than the earlier designs, although the ski jump is a bit odd.

  • Sacha

    “…construction access from Elliot Street is expected to have the least impact on the local road network” – let me guess, they’re measuring only cars and trucks rather than pedestrians again.

    Totally support your suggestion about Victoria St and the linear park, Matt. Traffic up Victoria will figure out other routes.

    • Sailor Boy

      Exactly, far more people use the traffic area of Ellit Street everyday than Albert or Victoria, they are just on foot, wonder how long it will take for AT to revert Elliot St to a segregated space again, or will they just wait for a pedestrian to be murdered?

    • bbc

      Indeed, the council appears to be planning to allow Elliot Street to be returned to an inhospitable place for pedestrians once again merely to prevent any affect on traffic i.e. cars on neighbouring roads. Completely hypocritical, and simply more of the typical Auckland planning of cars above all else. This idea needs to be knocked on the head ASAP, all access should be from Albert/Victoria Street and Elliot Street should not be allowed to be destroyed for almost 3 years. Why does AT see fit to destroy the businesses of all those retailers on Elliot Street by repelling pedestrians. S&C for one realised this was on the cards and requested that truck access not be allowed from Elliot Street.

  • Bryce P

    I happened to drive past the new New World store being built in Kumeu. Another big box with zero relationship to the street and a wide driveway with no priority for pedestrians (so it appears at this time). Given that Kumeu / Huapai are to be a regional town eventually, shouldn’t we be expecting better design now that will tie into the town properly in the future? Where are our town planners?

  • justintohugs

    Yes, it does look a bit shenzhen.

    Is anyone else having trouble with links at the top of this post?

  • Chris Randal

    I hope this works – from the Timespanner Facebook Page

    (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_GB/all.js#xfbml=1″; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’));
    Post by Timespanner.

  • Part of me is proud that Auckland is coming of age with its first 200m+ residential/commercial building. Another part of me thinks that the design could use a few improvements, because when it’s actually built, there’s only one chance to get it right.

    Not too long ago, Terry Serepisos had ambitions to build something even taller in Wellington… and then he went bankrupt before it could even be announced. Screenshots of the proposal, codenamed ‘NZ1′, are still online at the design firm he was associated with.

  • mv

    i quite like the design, certainly could do with a few modifications but overall i’d like to see this area put to good use. that carpark is a hell hole, i almost got jumped there a few years ago from some drunk that came out of margharitas. i’m glad to see Auckland city is being filled up, especially that space. about time..

  • Tony L

    No matter how many trees and birds are included in the renderings it is still going to be an ugly ill conceived building. Hopefully the urban design panel has some kahunas.
    I think the first rendering sums it up well. The reaction of pointing like the figure in the foreground is an emotional response to the fact it is so ugly or there is imminent danger. Hopefully its not Len Brown threatening to jump because he’s realized whats he done.

    I suggest the architect should present the project at any renowned architecture school of global standing and see what grade he gets.If its an A+ all good. If not it will be a good indication a change in approach maybe required.

    • Sailor Boy

      Sorry, but why is the building ill-conceived?

    • Loraxus

      > If its an A+ all good. If not it will be a good indication a change in approach maybe required

      And if he gets an A+, tons of people will whine how the panel is full of fools, and we should have rules to prevent this kind of farce. Face it, taste and design is subjective – the only thing we should be keen to mandate and control is actual measurable effects. Like shading, or pedestrian environment around the site’s driveways etc…

      All other things are SUBJECTIVE effects, and if we try to control those, we end up with a cookie-cutter, minimum, least-likely-to-offend-anyone lowest-common-denominator-design town, and everyone else who wants to do something just goes elsewhere.

      • Steve D

        > if we try to control those, we end up with a cookie-cutter, minimum, least-likely-to-offend-anyone lowest-common-denominator-design town

        And if we don’t try to control them, we end up with a cookie-cutter, minimum, cheapest-available-box-that-fills-the-allowable-volume town. This isn’t some daring, original masterpiece trying to get past the stuffy old fuddy-duddies – it’s just bad.

        Not that there’s anything wrong with a town that most people find inoffensive, anyway. Better than a town littered with atrocious pieces of egomaniacal starchitecture. Or a town where everything was simply the cheapest possible way to extrude the site plan – which sounds like Auckland, the last time anyone was actually building anything.

  • Steve D

    Speaking of the Victoria Street linear park, the park (presumably) requires getting rid of all of the buses from Victoria Street, and running them along Wellesley Street. Given that that’s supposed to happen in just two years time with the RPTP, are there any plans available for what’s going to happen to Wellesley Street?

    • I believe the excuse for not doing anything significant in the CBD is that *everything* requires the CRL first… it really is one ring to rule us all. I get their reasoning but it really is too tidy, we can’t just leave the CBD in aspic while that gets fought over and then built.

      • Loraxus

        Agreed – there’s always ten reasons not to do something, and waiting for a decision on another project appeals to the “lets not do something hasty, les just wait and study” mindset. Which stops our city while we rabidly build motorways around it like our lives depended on it…

      • conan

        Not True Patrick. Some things require a ‘study’ before they can be done. So it’s not just the CRL’s fault.

  • Ari

    The building looks fine to me. It’s not easy to design a building that looks great and doesnt cost a huge amount of money to build. The Eiffel Tower was vehemently hated as an ugly monstrosity and the only reason it survived it’s 20 year lease was because it was a useful radio tower.

    • This ain’t no Eiffel tower. Which was startlingly daring at the time; at the cutting edge of technology.

    • Christopher T

      The Eiffel tower was built as part of the 1889 Exposition Universelle not as part of the urban fabric of Paris, so from the start it was intended as something separate and different; the comparison is anomalous. More appropriate exemplars might be Col. Seifert’s Centrepoint (1963) in London’s West End or the Tour Montparnasse (Beaudouin, Cassan and Hoym de Marien, 1969) in Paris, both of which have been widely condemned for their abysmal architecture. Looks like Auckland is condemned not only to carry on building the motorways of the 1960s in the 21st century but also that era’s shonky commercial architecture. I guess that’s what makes Auckland so attractive to the shonky commercial types, many of whom themselves date from the 1960s, who rate the city so highly in their annual ‘best city’ surveys.

      • I agree that Centrepoint has appalling urbanism, which is to say its in the wrong building for its location, but I’m actually rather fond of its form and had a drink in the club on the top last year with some garrulous Soho publishing types. Great fun, and I enjoyed the late modernist detailing, especially of the flamboyant ‘feet’ of the building. Also it has an expressed skin, not the dreary glass curtain smoothness or relentless fins of this thing.

        Which means in fact I have the exact reverse view if these buildings, I like what the Auckland building means in terms of the city, life, people, vitality, but not its architecture, whereas I quite like the London building in itself, but not its inappropriate vertical interjection into a regular mid rise horizontal it’s and intimacy of the Soho edge.

        Great view down into a Crossrail hole and over the City however… I should hunt out some pics.

  • James

    I actually like it from the street level – adds some bulk and density to a site which desperately needs it. The tower itself…not so much. But I will reserve judgment…

  • Chris Werry (@chriswerry)

    Doesn’t look very thermally efficient. I thought all the corporates wanted green buildings these days.

  • Bob

    the spark plug and the radiator. They make a nice couple. Or they could give one side a big curvy indentation and hey presto, the urinal and the toilet!

  • Stevenz

    Don’t get me started on the quality of NZ commercial or residential architecture of the past few decades. Suffice to say, this building is in keeping with the trend.

    However, am I the only one who thinks this is not a real proposal, but a warning shot across the bow of any other developers who may be looking at the Class A office market? Maybe someone – or several someones – is anticipating a market for new office space in the next 5 – 10 years. From this point on, anyone else proposing increasing the office space inventory will be asked “but what about that Elliot building?” This proposal is a tactic to freeze others – and their respective financing partners – in their place. But its developer will howl “it’s real! Financing is in place! (alternatively, “many lenders interested!”), We’re going ahead!” (Ch 3, Sec 1, Para., 12 Lines 1 – 4, “The Developer’s Same-Old Same-Old Handbook.”) Suggestion: wait for the gold shovels to come out.

  • Sacha

    About that Aotea station entrance..
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11217272

    “Some doubt the tower will rise but Campbell-Reid said he was proceeding on the basis it would and trying to get the best outcome for the city.

    But the Central Rail Link (CRL) train station entranceway would not be accessed under the tower, he said. Instead, it would be in the new Victoria St linear park, where the council plans to link Albert Park with Victoria Park via landscaping lanes on what is now a busy thoroughfare.

    “I can’t guarantee [NDG Auckland Centre] is going to happen but if we put our main public entrance in this large commercial building, there’s a chance public access is compromised so we’ve got a separate accessway,” he said. “It’s adjacent to this building but not held kidnapped to it.””

  • you people are ridiculous, there’s hardly anything wrong with this project and obviously as these projects go along they listen too the public and councils and public architecture advisers too some degree, just because you guys don’t like a certain aspect of it dosnt give you guys the right too vent full hatred and ruin things for everyone else and scare of really good investors, this is our country and our city if you don’t like it then say so don’t blab hatred about crap you guys don’t know about, have your opinion and leave it at that don’t go all being wannabe architects with your atrocious behaviors!!

  • also if anything is too be taller then the sky tower which would be cool and possible with out making it look stupid it would have too take shape of the burj khalifa but a more sharper edgier looking version that’s allot more translucent, most city’s that have a tower have had them out grown anyway so its really not a big problem but yes, tall sharp and edgy and translucent as possible..

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