NZ's tallest cheese grater? $200m high-rise not ready for name, says developer

This building's unique windows are likely one reason why it has been given its 'cheese grater' nickname.
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This building's unique windows are likely one reason why it has been given its 'cheese grater' nickname.

Architects and developers are wearing a "cheese grater" label with pride saying it shows how interested the public are in their planned $200 million Auckland high-rise.

The 180m-tall multi-use building at 65 Federal St was announced on Wednesday. With 226 apartments, 233 five-star hotel rooms, a ground-floor market place and a sky-high public zen garden, it was called a "landmark for the city" by Auckland's Mayor Phil Goff. 

But many users on social media couldn't shake the building's resemblance to a cheese grater. 

The new high rise will stand near Auckland's Sky Tower.
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The new high rise will stand near Auckland's Sky Tower.

Architects and property developers involved in the project are taking the label with good humour saying the wide public discussion shows how much of a connection Aucklanders have with the buildings in their city.

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Brad Luke from Peddle Thorp, who partnered with Woods Bagot to design the building, said architects always loved the public giving their buildings "a bit of character".

"If I mentioned 20 Fenchurch St or Leadenhall or Swiss Re nobody would know what any of those are but if I said the Walkie-Talkie, the Cheesegrater and the Gherkin, everybody knows exactly what those are."

Bobby Kennedy of ICD Property, the developers behind the project, said the label was a "great talking point".

"All of the great buildings around the world have a nickname."

Another development Miglis worked on also briefly attracted the cheese grater moniker.
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Another development Miglis worked on also briefly attracted the cheese grater moniker.

But Kennedy said the project was not yet ready for an official name or nickname.

Australian architect Pete Miglis from Woods Bagot said the building's unique window structure, likely at least part of the reason behind the comparison to the texture of a cheese grater, was actually inspired by New Zealand's silver fern.

"When you turn a silver fern upside down it's got this beautiful translucent quality to it."

This isn't Miglis' first trip around the cheese grater block - an earlier Woods Bagot building, the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI), briefly attracted the same nickname, although less justifiably he believes. 

SAHMRI was only five storeys high, so more of a horizontal cheese grater than a vertical one, he said. 

If ICD Property do decide to officially name their building the cheese grater it'll be the second cheese grater high-rise in the world. 

Or possibly the third.

The Leadenhall building in London is commonly known as the Cheesegrater but another London development approved in July has been dubbed the Cheesegrater 2 by some media outlets.

Being third in a line of cheese graters is part of the reason why Luke would strike the name off his list, even if the public voted for it.

"That's ripping off the name of a building," Luke said.

"You can't do that, be original!"

Stuff