Walker Architecture: Intelligent by Design

When Ngai Tahu approached Walker Architecture in Christchurch to design a new building for PGG Wrightson (one of their key tenants,) it represented both a remarkable opportunity and challenge for both architects and structural engineers.

PGG Wrightson Seed in Christchurch were in a temporary building in Hornby, after their previous building collapsed during the 6.2 magnitude earthquake on 22 February 2011. The earthquake was centred 6.7 kilometres south-east of the Christchurch city centre causing severe damage, especially in the central city and eastern suburbs.

Christchurch inhabitants were still reeling from the effect of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake on 4 September 2010, and buildings and infrastructure were already under pressure. The eastern suburbs were affected by significant liquefaction, producing approximately 400,000 tonnes of silt. This project was therefore an ideal opportunity to design a venue specifically purpose built to the needs of the occupant and local environment.

Walker Architects worked closely with PGG Wrightson Seeds and Ngai Tahu, site-owner, to create a tailor-made building on the south east corner of the Springs Road / Gerald street intersection in Lincoln. It is adjacent to the university and forms part of the AgResearch Centre campus.

The nature and shape of the site and the building platform dictated a building that had to be a long rectangle, two stories high. The architectural response provided a strong linear form parallel to the street (Springs road) boundary. The building envelope is deliberately exposed, simple and continuous, making the roof a seamless feature of the overall building. There are no penetrations from either the plant or venting on the roof with all the plumbing and ducting concealed in the soffits.

The contrasting external treatment of the two vertically stacked volumes reduces the visual weight of the building. The black upper storey seems in suspension over the light filled transparency of the base level. This sense of contrast is further accentuated by the smooth glazing in contrast to the textural quality provided by the standing seam cladding above.

On approach, the subtle complexities of the upper level unfold. The metal ribs of the exterior walls continue to the roof line accentuating a sense of the exterior architecture wrapping around the internal spaces. These fluid  lines are virtually uninterrupted by roof penetrations and guide the eye up, over and down. With both ends fully glazed the unique facetted detailing leads the eye into the upper level of the building emphasizing its tubular form. 
The roofing and finishing presented some interesting challenges to achieve the finish the design demanded. Collaboration with the roofers, builders and designers found a solution using ColorcoteⓇ Zinacore and Prefa Aluminium in the same Tarc Tray Single Lock Standing profile.

The design teams choice of completely contrasting colours, materials, and textures from the ground to the first floor provides further separation.  Natural, smooth, sealed concrete panels and full height glazing to the ground floor complement the first-floor walls and roof in ColorcoteⓇ Lancewood with the standing seam providing texture. 

The main walls and roof are all clad with TARC TRAY Single Lock Standing Seam in ColorcoteⓇ Zinacore, Lancewood.

Because the Zinacore cladding was too difficult to facet in multiple directions, the feature walls on the first floor were clad in TARC TRAY Single Lock Standing Seam in Prefa P10 Black Aluminium.
The soffits are also clad in Tarc Clad Flat Lock in ColorcoteⓇ Zinacore, Lancewood and the rainscreen panels behind the fins are made from 2 mm aluminium Pe2 panels with a powder coat finish.

Walker Architecture
A multi-award-winning practice, bringing decades of collective experience to the table. Even if you haven’t worked with Walker Architecture yet, no doubt you’ll recognise their many buildings around Christchurch, not to mention the iconic homes dotting the suburbs (and beyond). 

Architecture can be intimidating for those not in the industry. Walker Architecture is different as there is no confusing industry jargon and no pedestal. Its all about making the process relaxing and enjoyable. When you visit, you’ll find yourself in a warm and welcoming place. 

Getting the highest standard of design out of any budget is a relished challenge and a promise. Designing to the budget is a discipline they are proud of without encouraging unachievable aspirations for clients

Passionate about the people who work for them and with them. A close-knit team led by Jason Walker, a life-long Architectural Designer who has designed dozens of homes and commercial buildings, including Christchurch’s new Press Building and the HSBC Tower.

Above all Walker Architecture strive for exceptional outcomes and architecture of the highest standard – while taking time to have fun along the way 

Walker Architecture
Jason walker.
38 Bristol Street, Merivale
Christchurch 8014
03 355 6012

Structural Engineer
Kent Huxford
Lewis Bradford Consulting Engineers
Telephone: 03 379 9096

Roofing / Cladding manufacturer:
Architectural Roofing Company
Upper Riccarton, Christchurch 
Telephone: 03 335 0462 

Roofing /Cladding Installer:
Architectural Roofing Company
Cladding and roofing Profile:
TARC TRAY Single Lock Standing Seam in Colorcote® Zinacore
Colour: Lancewood.
Feature Wall: TARC TRAY Single Lock Standing Seam in Prefa P10 
Colour: Black Aluminium.

Builder/Main Contractor:
Hanham Philp Contractors
Telephone: 03-338 5071