Meridian Energy’s objective for its new Wellington waterfront headquarters was to create a people-friendly, family-friendly workplace. Meridian also wanted a building that would embody sustainability and energy efficiency.
Warren and Mahoney’s role was to design the 4,000m2 of interior office space. To do this, we worked closely with the basebuild architects right from the start to ensure that sustainability and energy efficiency were built in rather than just added on.
One of the products of this close collaboration was the internal feature stair. Rather than treating the stair purely as a functional component of the building, the design team saw this as an opportunity to encourage staff and clients to use leg power instead of the lifts. It was also an opportunity to encourage connectivity between different work groups.
The centralised stairwell leads to the curved timber panels that enclose the reception on Level One. This area includes a café and informal meeting spaces which, again, allows both staff and clients to interact.
Leading off the central stair are easily accessed shared meeting spaces and utility areas for staff to congregate and interact during the day. And beyond these ‘bump’ spaces, there are light and airy open plan areas which are highly visible to each other and which open up lines of communication between the teams.
Materials, equipment, and furniture were all selected on the basis of their environmental suitability. The selection of furniture, for example, was heavily influenced by how much of the current furniture could be reused in the fit-out. While any new furniture required was chosen for its ergonomic performance, its use of recycled materials, and its potential for recycling in the future. As an example, the new boardroom chairs are made from 44 percent recycled materials.
The palette, the materials, and the design all have a strong New Zealand connection. Earthy colour schemes, accentuated by brighter colours, run throughout the workspace, with young, dynamic graphics giving variety and interest to the glazing on the upper floors.
Overall, the design concept seeks to express the connection between Meridian – as an energy provider – and the New Zealand landscape. This is achieved through the use of inherently solid concrete around the core, with timber and green stone floors connecting back to the softer New Zealand environment.
Principal and Executive Director
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