Breath of fresh air
A futuristic car park stacking machine is among hi-tech features turning heads in the country's first six Green Star-rated building.
"You drive in and a robot takes your car four storeys down via an elevator," new tenant Stephen Rogers says. "It's a bit strange at first but you get used to it."
The Geyser building opened in Parnell in September and received its six star rating for sustainable office design from the New Zealand Green Building Council.
It is owned by the Samson Corporation and designed by Patterson Associates to include five sub-buildings with atriums. There is no conventional air conditioning and occupants get a lot of natural light.
Stephen Rogers of Foundry Asset Management investment company moved in at the start of November and says staff "absolutely love it".
"It's so bright I don't think we've needed to turn the lights on yet."
Solicitor Christopher Taylor and chartered accountant Robert Wong were the first tenants to move in.
They operate separate businesses but have shared office space for the past 10 years. Working in an air conditioned environment is not something they miss.
"Having naturally circulating air as opposed to an air conditioning system has real advantages in terms of comfort and health," Mr Taylor says.
The innovative design uses thermal currents rising up through the space between the twin-walled glass facade to create natural heating and cooling ventilation.
Glass panels on the exterior of the building open to create airflow.
Mr Wong says it's great not having to contend with the constant hum of an air conditioning unit and being able to breathe in fresh air.
But adjusting to the Geyser Building has been a "fairly steep learning curve".
"Because our office faces the road, having the windows open means noise is the trade-off, but it's not that bad.
"The office is almost 100 per cent glass, which means we get a lot of natural light. We have to use the shades to minimise the glare at times, but that's easily done," Mr Taylor says.
"Clients are always quite impressed by the interior. Especially when they realise it has windows that can open," Mr Wong says.
"Society is changing. I think there is an increasing desire for business owners to demonstrate they are responsible citizens," Mr Taylor says.
Catriona Knapp from Future Focused Accountants moved there in September.
"A lot of these big office buildings are very sterile and dark and that makes you feel very isolated from the world," she says.
"I've got a lot of natural light where I am and I can see people walking by, which makes the environment very pleasant."
Patterson Associates director Andrew Mitchell is pleased and says the building is now more than 60 per cent tenanted.
"It's not a standard air conditioned building which is the historic formula for office space," Mr Mitchell says.
"It's setting a new direction in office design."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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