The Northern Steamship Company, one of New Zealand’s original coastal shipping companies, opened its offices in the Quay Street building in 1899. Closing shortly after the company sold its fleet in 1974 the building languished until a refurbishment was undertaken in 2005, the first heritage building to be refurbished in the Britomart Precinct.
Peddle Thorp has a long association with Cooper and Company, the developers of the Britomart Precinct and owners of the Northern Steamship Building so we took the opportunity to move when the space came available.
Peddle Thorp occupies the entire 450 square metre top floor of the building, a significant reduction from our previous office area, facilitated by significant investment in digital technology. The heritage space features high stud and open trussed, kauri lined roofs. The original building featured a separating brick wall running east to west which was modified to provide a single space in the earlier refurbishment. For us this provided a simple way to subtly filter the front of house area from the production space. The brief called for open plan work areas, reception and meeting spaces (including one quiet room), storage and support areas.
We determined that any new work should appear secondary to the primary heritage space and material. The palette is simple and sympathetic. To marry with the existing auburn shades of brick and kauri we chose a restricted palette of copper and recycled timber which is used in structure, built in furniture and screens. Some small highlights of bronze glass are used in internal glazing and furniture. Tertiary elements are simply painted black or white.
The new elements are distinct, but with careful detailing and sensitive material selection achieve what we call architectural ‘assonance’. The copper is to be allowed to slowly age, aided by sea breezes running through when the double hung windows are opened, and air conditioning shut off.
2017 NZIA – Regional – Interior Architecture Award
2017 Designers Institute of NZ Best Award – Silver, Offices and Workplace Environments