New Zealand’s favourite shopping destination just got bigger and better with the $277-million expansion of Auckland’s Sylvia Park designed by reputed architecture studio Buchan opening in October 2020.

Buchan’s signature architectural work in the retail and hospitality space is evident at the 20,000-square-metre Level One development called Galleria. Featuring a carefully curated selection of 57 stores, the new addition not only increases the total retail space to 106,427 square metres but also makes Sylvia Park the biggest mall in the country.

Sylvia Park’s expansion follows the launch of New Zealand’s first H&M and Zara stores in 2016, both of which were delivered by Buchan.

“The inspiration for the Galleria came from a desire to create a contemporary and timeless space, which would act as a counterpoint to the dynamic and more ephemeral designs of the retail units and shopfronts, which are more driven by changing trends and fashions over time,” Buchan’s principal Robert McFarlane explained.

By day, the galleria-style atrium floods the mall with diffused natural daylight through a series of roof skylights stretching end to end. At night, discrete light sources will uplight the curved surfaces of the ceilings for a muted effect. Customers can effortlessly move around the retail space without needing extensive wayfinding. The form and finishes of the interiors provide a sophisticated backdrop to the colours and materials used by the retailers on their shopfronts.

Buchan also led the design and upgrade of the expansion at Sylvia Parks’ The Grove Dining District to accommodate six new restaurants, a new square and dining lane. The form and scale of the existing buildings have inspired the signature dining pavilion’s silhouette. A new automated canopy supported by ‘structural trees’ along the dining lane allows alfresco dining throughout the year, regardless of the weather.

“Buchan is well known for its expertise in retail and master planning of the highest quality, but as Sylvia Park is now defined as a Metropolitan Centre in Auckland, we have also been extending that know-how into other areas such as infrastructure, civic and mixed-use, heritage, residential, hotels, bars/restaurant design, interiors and brand experience,” McFarlane said.

Buchan New Zealand has been responsible for several exceptional projects, with their Auckland and Christchurch studios working collaboratively to deliver wide-ranging mixed-use projects from Invercargill Central to Mission Bay in Auckland, he added.

Developed by Kiwi Property, the Galleria positions Sylvia Park as a premier shopping centre, with the Level One extension taking the total retail offering at the mall to over 250 stores. The Terrace – the impressive dining precinct – offers an elaborate range of food and beverage options including Indian, Japanese and Thai restaurants on a dedicated floor.

Photo credit: Mark Scowen