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Site 7: Meridian Building, Wellington

04 Sep 2009

The Meridian building, constructed on Site 7 in the Wellington’s waterfront Kumutoto precinct, is New Zealand’s first 5 GreenStar building. Incorporating multiple energy saving features in both the design and construction phases, the building has set the benchmark for new office complexes in this country.

The building has a composite structure that utilises steel columns, hollowcore flooring and concrete shear cores, to create an efficient structure which optimised time, cost, and material resources.

The exposed thermal mass of the concrete slabs are integral to the thermal performance of the building, absorbing daytime occupant heat loads and cooling the slab by night-time flushing, affording low energy running costs and a comfortable range of temperatures achieved primarily by natural means.

The challenging requirements resulted in innovative structural solutions, such as the north stair, which curves and twists in three dimensions, and was constructed using a combination of precast panels and shotcrete. In addition, the internal precast concrete stairs cantilevers off the floors with no support at the half landing.

Every attempt was made to minimise the CO2 content of the concrete, this included using ground blast furnace slag in the pile tops, foundations, core walls and façades. Fly-ash supplemented self-compacting concrete in the columns, using approximately 30% cement substitution with fly-ash, aiding both concrete placement and density, and lowering CO2.

The cantilever of the upper floors, while allowing the building to be constructed right out to the water’s edge, also meant that stringent anti-pollution measures had to be put in place to avoid any leaching of building materials into the harbour. As a sign of how successful this has been, although barely a year old, already blue penguins are nesting under the front public colonnade of the building.




Ralf Kessel, on behalf of South Pacific Architecture, accepts the Excellence in Commercial Concrete Construction Award from CCANZ CEO Rob Gaimster