Articles / Apartment Design

Walk the talk

Want to know more?

Contact us

When this property management company moved its staff to new offices over two floors, the design solution became a showcase for the whole building

Walk the talk


Successful office refits not only showcase the skills of the design team – they demonstrate to prospective tenants and other tenants in the same building how their own space could be revitalised.

That was the case for this office upgrade at the National Bank Centre in Auckland's Queen Street. The owner, Kiwi Income Property Trust (KIPT), had already installed a new café, and refurbished the lobby and lifts. Then Kiwi Property Management (KPM), the manager of KIPT, took on the lease of two floors on the upper levels of one tower. It was a good opportunity to demonstrate what could be done with the space and unlock the potential of the National Bank Centre, says KPM's portfolio manager Jon Lesquereux.

"The brief to Tim Hooson of Jasmax was to challenge traditional fit-out designs in the building to create a light, spacious, efficient and contemporary working environment that would meet our need for both team and individual working styles," he says. "We asked them to create a showcase fit-out that could be used to demonstrate the potential of the office space within the centre."

Hooson's team created a large reception area that extends across the spine of the building. On arrival, visitors are now greeted by daylight views throughout the office. The concept has been duplicated on the secure staff floor, which contains staff facilities and utility and break-out areas.

"Careful use of natural daylight, an open-plan concept, and glazed internal meeting rooms have all resulted in good visual connectivity across the floors," says Lesquereux. "There is a significant degree of collaborative activity in our workplace, and we couldn't afford for our teams to become detached."


A related challenge was linking the two floors in a way that was as seamless as possible. The existing stairwells were constructed as a fire escape and, while functional, were not particularly inviting.

Hooson made modifications to encourage staff to walk between floors, while still feeling that they had not left the office.

"We installed electronic sliding doors to the fire escape so that staff can use the staircase without swiping a card or pushing a door handle. Secondary fire doors are automatically activated if there's a fire. The staircase has been refurbished in the same colours and materials as the rest of the fit-out, to create a virtually seamless link between the two levels."

Underpinning the project was a goal to adopt commercially sensible environmentally sustainable design (ESD) initiatives throughout the fit-out, says KPM's Jason Happy.

"To ensure the project met its ESD aims, the team needed a reference point. As the New Zealand Green Building Council is still working on its green rating tool for fit-outs, we used the Australian Green Building Council's tool and aimed for a four-star rating," he says. "Adopting a formal structure gave us a framework for dialogue with the designers, and meant that we had an opportunity to demonstrate our achievements to staff, investors and prospective building tenants."

The office has been retrofitted with T5 lighting, and meeting rooms feature occupancy sensors that automatically switch lights on. Water usage is expected to halve, due to high-efficiency taps, urinals and toilets. Materials were selected for their low levels of volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde. Flooring in reception areas is bamboo, a natural, sustainable resource. Carpet tiling was installed, so that tiles in high-traffic areas can be readily replaced and old tiles recycled by the supplier.

The project team, which included Jasmax, Coffey Group, Rider Levett Bucknall, Connell Wagner and contractor Fletcher Interiors, worked to ensure the project was on time and within budget.

Chief executive of KPM Angus McNaughton says the fit-out has exceeded his expectations in terms of workspace efficiencies, aesthetics and staff amenity.

For details, contact Kiwi Property Management Ltd. Phone + 64 (9) 359 4000. . Email:

First published date: 28 March 2008

More news from Trends