To symbolize interdependence and the promotion of ‘kaitiakitanga’ (guardianship of the land and water for future generations), the new headquarters building on the Dunedin waterfront was proposed in two parts, as if pushed up by the oppositional movement of tectonic plates – the fundamental forces that still form Aotearoa. One part is oriented to the topographical hinterland, acknowledging the whenua, while the other part is oriented to the vast Pacific Ocean, acknowledging the water and all it brings.
Each part was to be robustly constructed, with services embodied within, providing more durability in the corrosive sea environment. It was envisaged that the faceted structural facades would be constructed from in situ post-tension marine grade concrete. The compression in these elements will reduce cracking and increase the durability of the concrete facade as well as brace the building. This facade/structure is a live element that collects rainwater, controls/filters the low east/west sunlight, acts as a thermal chimney and positions the air ducts to naturally ventilate the floor plates.