An architectural collaboration between Woods Bagot’s Melbourne studio and Auckland’s Peddle Thorp won an international design competition for a new high-rise hotel and apartment tower in Auckland, New Zealand.

Located on Federal Street, the high-rise stands out for its confident, city-defining tower, inspired by Auckland’s natural forms. To be built for Melbourne-based developer ICD Property, the building will be a simple, elegant silhouette on the skyline that provides a companion to the city’s iconic Sky Tower, says Woods Bagot principal and design leader Peter Miglis.

Key considerations during the design phase included sightlines to culturally significant landmarks, the height of the streetscape, pedestrian connectivity to key destinations and Auckland’s weather.

Understanding the future vision for the city was a strong driver when designing the building’s lower level, which Woods Bagot associate principal Andrew Walter says asserts the responsibility of architecture to consider the street it occupies.

By transforming into a pedestrian-focused laneway, Federal Street has the potential to become a public destination similar to a town square or public plaza. The hotel lobby has been elevated to the top of a podium, with the lower street levels freed to be highly public focused. A ground level marketplace offering the finest New Zealand food and beverage will be a highlight, as will the ‘sky lobby’, which will give the public an opportunity to enjoy the building and city from another perspective.

Standing 180 metres tall, the building will occupy a 1600-square-metre site at 65-71 Federal Street, between Victoria and Kingston Streets, just to the north, seaward side of the Sky City complex. The mixed use development will combine retail space, a hotel with more than 200 rooms, investor apartments and owner-occupier penthouse suites.

Design highlights also include curtain wall glass with aluminium mesh between the panes of double glazing to improve the building’s performance environmentally, acoustically and structurally; and internal conservatory winter gardens with angled façade panels providing the feel of the outdoors.

Peddle Thorp NZ director Richard Goldie explains that the building’s design is a strong expression of place, using timber extensively in its public spaces. The firm had earlier used timber on major civic buildings such as the Auckland Museum and Auckland Art Gallery.

The development is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

Woods Bagot design team:

Peter Miglis, Kate Frear, Will Hosikian, Bronwyn McColl, Andrew Walter, Phillip Tran, Isabel Munro, Pete McKew

Peddle Thorp NZ design team:

Richard Goldie, Manuel Diaz, Jason Huang, Matt Smith, Jonathan Jordan