Right From The Start

Amidst competition from other architectural firms
Dean Wyllie Architects won the contract to design a combined office building that would be used by two companies. Each Company was to maintain its own identity but share facilities such as administration, meeting rooms, training room, staffroom and retain an existing workshop. An interesting brief which required bringing together two company cultures and their individual needs.

PipeWorks, a Fletcher subsidiary start up company had been operating from the site for 4 years. The site had a 70m long shed, ideally suited for the wet-out pipe rehabilitation operations but the administration had out grown the relocated house used as an office.

Nearby Brian Perry Civil, also a subsidiary Fletcher company had also out grown their cramped Auckland facilities.

These two companies work alongside one another in many instances and the synergy between the companies was recognised by the management of both who formally agreed to share resources.

Working alongside Dean Wyllie Architects the various needs of each company were identified. Discussions were held with not only management but with those at “the coal face” to establish areas of operational concerns. The rapport between Architect and members of both companies is very apparent and without doubt has aided in communication and efforts to find design solutions.

Combined the companies employee over 120 staff, many of whom are site based, with the offices housing around 35 staff including several project managers who split their time between the office and site. Both companies have found a marked improvement in their operation due to the facilities that the new offices provide.
Both companies use the training room extensively for in house training. Training sessions are designed to bring all members of the staff together in a way that does not delineate between management and the site work force providing a social but informative atmosphere. Both companies believe this collective communication between site works staff and management has been greatly enhanced by the new venue.

While Brian Perry Civil's head office is in Hamilton and they have offices in Wellington and Christchurch, the Auckland office is now used for many of their management meetings and has become somewhat of a flagship of their operation. The inviting and open nature of the building is often used for client functions. “Many of our clients prefer to have their site meetings here rather than on site or at their own offices,” says David Fehl, Business Development Manager for PipeWorks. "Our training room can open onto the staff room which provides facilities for large meetings of 60 plus. Our two smaller meeting rooms can also be opened to form one larger room.” Both the meetings rooms and the training room are equipped with projectors and internet facilities with specifically designed furnishings allowing for various flexible configurations.

Early in the design process it was decided to keep an industrial theme incorporating materials that would reflect the engineering nature of the clients operation. The industrial approach and honest use of materials has been achieved by exposing the steel portals, polishing the concrete foyer floor, using the reinforcing security mesh at the entrance as a design feature and the horizontal ColorSteel cladding providing contrast from the existing ribbed steel of the workshop.

Two strong tilt-up concrete slabs where incorporated into the design of the building on the street façade for signage. Internally the office is split into two levels with a double height entrance and administration area with views out over the yard. Priority was given to the staff room location that faces north with access to a small courtyard. Security is of high importance and to avoid having to use security grilles to all the glazing an electrical fence was installed to the front offices. Security at the entrance was resolved by using a mesh cage that opens back during the day forming a backdrop to the landscaping and adding to the industrial texture without being apparent as security screening.

A deliberate use of bold colour with the interior painted surfaces, floor finishes and fabrics provides fresh relief to the often drab site sheds where engineers spend their time.

The office building addresses the street giving a strong appearance with the opportunity of signage and provides some visual protection to the yard operations behind. Locating the office building at the front of the site allowed maximum use of the yard space for manoeuvring and storage of the large equipment such as NZ's largest specialist drilling rig, the 625 Soilmec.

The existing workshop was retained and extended to the boundary. One of the key bulk and location requirements was to minimise the extent of demolition to the existing workshop shed in order to maintain the maximum amount of straight length pipe lining preparation space.

David Fehl, spokesman for the group, is very complementary of the work done by the architects, “They quickly involved themselves in our business needs, listened to our operational needs, discussed operations with our staff (not just management) and provided us with innovative solutions. As a collective group we are very happy with the work that was done. It has streamlined much of our operation and provided us with a facility that strengthens our association with our client base. Of equal importance to us was the ability to keep to the time scale and budget. ”

Dean Wyllie Architects
Dean Wyllie Architects Limited, formed in1994, offers architectural, interior and conceptual design, including visualisation using computer graphics.

The principle, Dean Wyllie, offers considerable experience gained while working in London, Europe and the South Pacific on prestigious projects such as Waterloo International Eurostar Terminal in London, Expo 92 British Pavilion in Seville, the Berlin Stock Exchange and others. Dean has lectured on Architecture and computer graphics both in NZ and the UK.

Dean Wyllie Architects have systems in place to enable good communications with clients, council and contractors, including formal recording of all consultations and excellent document production facilities.

Overall, the work of Dean Wyllie Architects is characterised by restraint and simplicity in design. “We believe in a team approach to the design process including the client and listening to their requirements, exploring expectations and opportunities and an integrated approach to architecture, landscape and urban design,” says Dean Wyllie.

Dean Wyllie Architects Limited    Dean Wyllie   
Telephone: 09 303 4007

Project Manager:   
Coombe Consultants Ltd   
Don Coombe   
Telephone: 09 410 9595

Structural Engineers:
Murray Jacobs Ltd.   
Murray Jacobs   
Telephone: 09 309 5838

Fire Engineer: Sinclair Knight Merz   
Bill Pannell   
Telephone: 09 913 8917

Contractor: NZ Strong Construction   
Shane Brealey   
Telephone: 09 630 7324

Structural Steel: Jetweld   
Errol Turner          
Telephone: 09 580 3108

Cladding & Roofing: Paton Roofing   
Philip Gilmore       
Telephone: 09 838 7905

Cladding: Steel and Tube
Custom Orb ColorSteel Endura Sandstone Grey 0.55mm BMT

wall cladding on H3 20mm drained cavity.

Roofing: Steel and Tube
Multispan longrun ColorSteel Endura
Cloud roofing 0.45mm BMT roofing,

0.55mm flashings with Alsynite MaxiglasXLF translucent sheeting.