ARCHIPENDIUM von Architekten für Architekten



Design statement

Ironbank is located in an historic area on the edge of Auckland’s (New Zealand) CBD. The front of the site addresses the high street which is dominated by a rich mixture of Victorian and Edwardian buildings. Most of these buildings have fallen into varying states of disrepair over recent decades.

A strong contrast belies the urban condition of this high street against the parallel service street to the rear of the site. The back street is primarily a service lane and has remained largely undeveloped and unplanned through its evolution. Its streetscape is therefore architecturally unconsidered and haphazard in its appearance.

The building is conceived as a manifestation of a cross contamination of the two contrasting street conditions. The high street being concerned with notions of presentation, display, etiquette and heritage, while the service lane is concerned with servicing, delivery, disorder and utility. The building has taken the opportunity to address a transition between these two street conditions.

The building presents a glass reinforced concrete (GRC) façade as a ‘veil’ to the high street edge screening the site’s interior. This screen has been conceived as an abstraction of the historical facades adjacent.

In a gesture to the finely scaled historical neighbourhood, we have sought to fragment the building form to alleviate the potential mass associated with a medium sized office building. Hence, 5 towers are further fragmented vertically to articulate the composition of stacked office and retail spaces gathered into a socially sustainable working community.

The building is Ecologically Sustainably Designed and has received the first

5 Star As–Built Greenstar rating from the New Zealand Green Building Council.

Project information

Game changer for Retail / Workplace typology – Ironbank redefines the office building and creates a socially sustainable lifestyle orientated working community.

This is a commercial office building with retail at street level. The building has been specifically designed to provide 35 small scale working tenancies (100- 350m sq) combined with retail and appropriate urban space and linkages to foster a socially sustainable communal working environment.

The units have been designed to be connected or retained as individual tenancies. This enabled start up companies and new business incubators such as Biz Dojo, to expand when required. Biz Dojo now occupies 3 tenancies after 5 years of living in Ironbank.

The 5 office towers stack up above this plaza and provide an intimate community of office tenancies sharing the air space over the public pedestrian space below. Circulation further encourages social interaction coming and going to the lift towers via bridges and walkways. The business within Ironbank has started to work with each other again fostering growth.

The building is Ecologically Sustainably Designed (ESD) and is certified by the New Zealand Green Building Council as the first 5 Green Star–As-Built rating in New Zealand.

The building is fully naturally ventilated to all habitable spaces. Low-e glass, night purging, solar water heating, re-use of rainwater and the mechanical car stacking system are among some of the ESD initiatives incorporated into this building.



  • Auckland
  • New Zealand
Completion: 2009
Used materials
  • Glass

Type of Building

Architect Office