Written by Fearon Hay, Photography: Patrick Reynolds.
The building plays an important role in bringing people together not just for its tenants but also for the public. It unites public and private sectors by encouraging engagement through the use of courtyards and internal circulation strategies. The building is designed to open up to its surroundings, not withdraw, with access at both the Queen Street and Fort Lane entrances.
Imperial Lane in Auckland – connects 2 key streets
The backbone of this strategy is a new laneway for Auckland: Imperial Lane. This ground level connection between the recently upgraded service way, Fort Lane, and the retail thoroughfare of Queen Street, is activated by street dining serviced from central tables, which are stepped to follow the level of the new ramped lane.
New Elements are inserted vertically into the existing fabric
Vertical shafts are cut through the floors above the lane, drawing light into the space and a language of opaque glass and steel to complement the ‘found’ brickwork, timber truss, stone and dilapidated concrete of the original fabric.
Skylights transfer through commercial levels as lightwells.
A vertical connection is made from the middle of the lane – a sculptural staircase accesses a new courtyard on the level above ground. This courtyard was carved from a service-filled lightwell, with large openings formed in the surrounding walls and the addition of new steel plate stairways and balconies ensuring that spaces over the upper levels enjoy connection and interaction with this enlarged central space.
The network of public connection and open circulation spaces provides a sense of precinct for the five levels of commercial off ice space, restaurants, bars and retail.
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