An out-of-town based developer secured Nelson Tasman Civil Defence as a key tenant for his development and needed a cost effective design. The building needed to be Importance Level 4; immediately operational after an earthquake or other hazard event. The site selection was driven by cost. It is prone to flooding from Washbourn Gardens.
We chose to address John Wesley Lane visually and provide the entry point for most of the foot traffic that comes from the TDC Building across the road. It has a visual presence from the other main roads (Wensley and Oxford). We wanted to create a building that looked solid, safe, permanent, functional and practical.
Design was driven by economy so the floor plan started as a square to achieve a good floor to wall ratio. Corners were removed at ground floor level to soften the shape and provide areas for covered bike parks and access to storage. Ground floor construction is predominantly precast concrete to achieve the Importance Level requirement and to help with the threshold detail at ground level for surface water paths. We used Interspan for the mid-floor to provide effective separation between floors and have expressed it in the central ‘War Room’ to avoid having suspended ceiling tiles. The top floor is timber framed with steel ‘K’ braces in the corners to add stiffness.
We were required to integrate tenant requirements for radio communications, backup generators and water storage into the base build design.
Claddings were selected to be low cost and low maintenance. We responded to the street frontage along John Wesley Lane to the east with glazing and timber fins, returning fins out to create entry points. We used the same material on the west elevation to conceal heat pump units and provide protection from the westerly sun.