NZ’s largest timber office building. Building a more sustainable future

90 Devonport Road represents how mass timber technology will become the way of the future.

Scion and Tauranga City Council are united in putting sustainability at the forefront of design. Together, they are inspiring others to build a sustainable future using wood.

A desire to build more sustainably is driving change across the construction sector, with multi-storey timber buildings in both Rotorua and Tauranga evidence of the growing enthusiasm for using wood.

A living, breathing example of both the performance and aesthetics of timber is Scion’s innovation hub, Te Whare Nui o Tuteata, which has pioneered sustainability and design using engineered wood products.

The structure won 14 domestic and international awards in 2021, making it an international timber architecture icon. Scion sustainability architect and portfolio leader Andrea Stocchero says Te Whare Nui o Tuteata represents a gateway for engaging with what is possible to build with engineered wood products.

“Scion pushed the boundaries with this commercial building in terms of showcasing innovations in timber engineering and how the future can be more bio-based and renewable, which is important for us as a Crown Research Institute. It’s significant for New Zealand because it will help inspire others to see and experience what’s possible and begin their own journeys.”

Building with wood is a great option, both for long-term carbon storage and for the broader social, economic and environmental advantages that wood provides on top of other technical, functional and biophilic benefits, he says.

Te Whare Nui o Tuteata’s wood products store enough carbon to offset the emissions from all the building’s materials.

Trees sequester carbon from the atmosphere while they’re growing, and as long as the wood is in use, that carbon is stored, so it’s not going back into the atmosphere. If the timber is sustainably certified it means that the forests are re-growing after each harvest, and the carbon sequestration cycle continues.

Mass timber technology will become an integral part of our development toolkit for constructing exceptional, environmentally sustainable buildings, both now and in the future. - Wayne Silver, Willis Bond Managing Director - Funds and Finance

Reaching new heights with wood

Tauranga City Council’s new administration hub for 90 Devonport Road is set to be the country’s largest mass timber office building at 10,000 square metres.

Tauranga City Council commission chair Anne Tolley says the decision to pursue a wood-based structure came from the council’s ongoing commitment to sustainability.

“When developing our city, we hope to leave a legacy for future generations, not only in terms of the spaces we create, but the present and future footprint those buildings will have.

“Early on in this project, we committed to putting sustainability at the forefront of design, targeting a 6 Green Star rating, which reflects world leadership in sustainability. Adopting a mass timber hybrid structure allowed us to achieve that aspiration by minimising the building’s carbon impact and helping create a better built environment for the future.”

Tauranga City Council chose property development and investment company Willis Bond to deliver this mass timber build.

Amidst the diagrids: Scion’s Andrea Stocchero (right) and Mark McGuinness, executive chair at Willis Bond discuss the many benefits of wood.

Willis Bond has partnered with Warren and Mahoney Architects and construction company LT McGuinness to design this extraordinary office building.

Tolley says, “Apart from the obvious environmental outcomes, the Scion building has a great feeling. As New Zealanders, we are very familiar with wood. There’s something quite homely and welcoming about it and that’s what we want to achieve for our team who will work in the new building at 90 Devonport Road.

“We’re delighted at the opportunity to help lead the way in terms of mass timber office buildings, to show others how it can be done and encourage more organisations and businesses to use this approach for other developments throughout New Zealand.”

Council commissioners, along with Willis Bond and LT McGuinness, visited Scion in March to gain insights into the design and construction of Te Whare Nui o Tuteata.

Willis Bond managing director – Funds and Finance Wayne Silver says 90 Devonport Road will set a new precedent for projects of scale that can be delivered with an environmentally sustainable building methodology.

“Mass timber technology will become an integral part of our development toolkit for constructing exceptional, environmentally sustainable buildings, both now and in the future.

“Our goal is always to keep as much carbon in the ground as possible and moving to mass timber construction methodology where possible is a great way to achieve this. The Scion building’s low-carbon timber structure and resulting seismic resilience are key features that align with our design objectives.”

Stocchero says council engaging with Scion and Te Whare Nui o Tuteata represents an alignment of journeys towards building a more sustainable future and how that can look.

“Tauranga City Council choosing to build with wood aligned with their quest for sustainability and we were able to share our experiences with them. It is our hope that together we can inspire others to do the same.”

< Previous Article  |  Contents  |  Next Article >