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Read ‘em and weep

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Likely to be the envy of anyone whose office screams out the word drab, this Quadrant Properties' publishing house development is all about light and colour

Read ‘em and weep


Does your workplace say anything about what you do as a company, or how you like to work? And for that matter, how much does this really matter?

To Pearson Publishing it mattered a lot. Formerly, the company's two divisions – Pearson Education and Penguin Books – were housed at separate sites. When planning to bring the two units together under one roof, the company approached Jones Lang LaSalle Tenant Representative Services and Quadrant Properties with a specific list of "must haves" for their new office design. Quadrant's senior development manager Martin Milford-Cottam explains.

"Quadrant Properties was the owner, developer and project manager of the development. Pearson didn't want to separate the different divisions by floor, which resulted in a single level, large 1540m2 floorplate. Other requirements included a design that provided as many people as possible with access to natural light, and connections to the outdoors," he says.

"Also, as the location has no immediate access to a shopping centre, providing ample amenities for staff was a major consideration."

While a large floorplate could have been a disadvantage in terms of providing natural light to the centre of the structure, the problem was solved by the inclusion of two glass-walled interior courtyards. Also, to provide a sense of proportion, ceiling heights are higher than strictly necessary – as high as 5.5m in some areas.


Designed by Williams Architecture and built by Keystone Construction, the modern exterior features a mix of materials. Exposed structural steel and large expanses of glazing are balanced by softer materials such as brick and the timber detailing on the undersides of the overhanging eaves.

"The nature of the publishing business is relatively low impact, based around books and reading. The numerous breakout areas, the cafe and the courtyards provide space for people to meet, eat, talk and read," says Milford-Cottam. "Quadrant Properties seldom invests in spec buildings. Our projects more often involve tailoring a building solution to the needs of a specific tenant."

The building's mechanical services were designed by Beca Services to provide low running costs and emphasise a high degree of environmental control. Stack Interiors produced the space plan and designed the interior concept, which features colourful carpets, modern furniture, numerous display areas and acoustic panelling.

For details, contact Quadrant Properties, PO Box 32-282, Takapuna, Auckland. Phone (09) 486 6667, fax (09) 468 6668. Email:

First published date: 12 December 2006

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