Kathmandu head office in Christchurch Innovation Precinct gains 5 Green Star Design rating

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Glass and precast three-level building with semi-industrial interior is home to the Kathmandu head office and retail store

Kathmandu head office in Christchurch Innovation Precinct gains 5 Green Star Design rating Discover this article's resources 0


The new Kathmandu headquarters and retail store in Christchurch's Innovation Precinct stands out boldly thanks to its facade of glass under-pinned with black spandrels and raw precast panels, which are structural as well as aesthetic elements of the three-level building.

Aqua Architecture with owner Glen White at the helm undertook the base build of the contemporary building. Creative Spaces was engaged by Kathmandu to design a new office and reception space that would align with Kathmandu's values and purpose. And Aqua Architecture also delivered the interior fit-out for these areas – working with Creative Spaces' concept plans.

Spokesperson for Kathmandu Rebecca Edwards says the global company selected the Innovation Precinct for its New Zealand HQ building as the collaboration hub for innovative technology aligns with its innovative product design, approach to working and retail experience.

"Christchurch is our home and we wanted to demonstrate our commitment to the rebuild and the city," Edwards says.

Glen White says the building's design responds to the sensibilities, and needs, of Kathmandu as well as the prominent corner site within the precinct.


"The client wanted a bold building, in glass and black cladding, providing the ideal backdrop for the Kathmandu white logo. The black spandrels were also a fire safety consideration," says White. "Plus the high-performance, double-glazed façade is animated by automated blinds that track the sun and move to optimise indoor temperature and light.

Kathmandu also needed a sheltered outdoor space, with a grassed area that could be used to set up exhibitions. Responding to this, the building forms a shallow U around a protected courtyard with artificial grass that looks out to a side laneway.

Inside, the building has a no-nonsense, modern, semi-industrial tone which seems to say ‘we just want to keep things honest and spend our energies climbing mountains or kayaking rivers'.

The ground floor includes the new Kathmandu store – fitted out by Kathmandu's own store development team; a staff cafeteria with operable walls which can expand to double its size for presentations; and a call centre. The upper levels are home to offices and an inhouse design studio.

"The rugged fit-out includes further raw precast, exposed girders, mainly polished concrete floors and wall elements in steel, sealed with a wax finish. In key areas, ceiling panels were avoided with services left exposed and painted black," says White.

There is also a high-level of recycling in the building, the reception and office fit-outs. Ninety percent of construction waste was diverted from landfill and Forest Council certified timber and recycled timber from buildings destroyed in the earthquakes were used in the building's construction.

"A section of floor is made from recycled tyres while the wood accents seen throughout – including the receptions' 3D graphic of the world – are in wood repurposed from the existing building on the site."

Even the headquarters' grand, long boardroom table is made from a recycled beam found on site.

Edwards says sustainability is in Kathmandu's DNA and that it was very important for its team members and their work environment.

For the office fit-out, that translated into light-filled, open workspaces with extended sightlines, and the choice of a high efficiency ventilation system that brings in outdoor air at a rate 50% above that required by the building code.

Unsurprisingly, the stand-out, contemporary building achieved a 5 Green Star Design rating for efficiency and sustainability.

First published date: 07 March 2017

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Credit List

Project Kathmandu HQ, Christchurch
Developer Calder Stewart Developments and Studio D4
Architecture Glen White, Aqua Architecture
Interior designer Alice Dalton, Creative Spaces
Construction Calder Stewart Construction
Civil and structural engineer Calibre Consulting
Mechanical and electrical engineer Thurston Consulting
Cladding Pre-cast concrete
Roof CS Roofing Canterbury
Security system ADT Security
Lift services Schindler
Partitioning systems Collective
Operable doors Transpace
Hardware Allegion
Blinds Window Treatments
Flooring Inzide carpet planks from Inzide Commercial
Heating/air con Beattie Air