NELSON: NELSON CITY COUNCIL BUILDING
The ground floor area of the Civic House Tower Building in Nelson had previously been inhabited by NZ Post. The new fit-out was required to provide a professional look that was light, airy and calm and could handle the requirement for queues and waiting spaces but still allow flow to other areas in the public space. The space also includes public toilets, meeting rooms and open plan offices.
The public area is an irregular space, characterised by the straight lines of the column grid and the curve of the drum containing the stair and lifts. The design concept reinforces these aspects with the customer service desks aligned in the central area, with the line reinforced with the existing rimu ceiling and new lowered ceilings above the desks and waiting area.
The ceiling above the waiting area is enlivened with raised ‘cut-outs’ that contain acoustic absorption, lighting, and heating and ventilation services. These have a circular motif, reflecting the form of the stair tower, as well as being a shape that is adaptable to the irregular plan. The circular motif is further utilised in the floor finish, in the privacy film to office windows and to the feature wall behind the service counters. Emphasis was put on selecting energy efficient fittings and products to minimise the on-going operational cost of the facility. New double glazed aluminium shop front joinery was installed to the building to improve the thermal properties.
The construction of the project was split into two stages and during both stages the building was fully occupied with multiple tenants. Weekly meetings were held with the client representatives to ensure all parties were aware of the activities being carried out the following week. Areas of the demolition and noisy reconstruction works were carried out at night to minimise the disruption.
A full scale mock-up was constructed early on in the project to establish critical dimensions for the counters and other key items of the joinery which enabled staff to give feed-back on the design and product decisions to be made prior to completing the internal framing, this helped to get staff buy-in and ensured the joinery was completed on time.
Many of the fittings required long lead times and had to be procured very early in the project to ensure the ten week construction period for the first phase was achieved.