World’s top architects compete to create new Auckland landmark


Leading New Zealand architects Warren and Mahoney are taking on four of the world’s architecture heavyweights in a competition to design a new apartment and hotel development in central Auckland

Melbourne-based property development company ICD Property has invited five architects, including renowned London-based firm Zaha Hadid, to create designs for a multi-storey hotel and apartment tower on Federal St.

The Federal Street project, a block away from the Sky Tower on a site which is currently occupied by a seven-storey car park, is the first development ICD has done in New Zealand following projects such as the 65-level Eq. Tower in Melbourne.

The five architects – also including Woods Bagot, Cox Architect, and Elenberg Fraser – will design two versions of the building each.

The first will be a design that works within Auckland Council’s current city planning framework and another that challenges the Unitary Plan to create a building with unparalleled design standards, a high-quality amenity for residents, and one that works in harmony with the public realm.

ICD Deputy Managing Director Matthew Khoo says a design competition of this kind will find the best quality architectural and urban design solution for the space in Federal St.

“It’s also a really fun and different way to bring design excellence to life by pitting five of the best architects in the world against each other – and the end result will be built right here in Auckland.

“The first design will be compliant to current planning restrictions, but given the quality of the architects, will still be impressive and exciting.

“While the second design will demonstrate what could be achieved under more generous planning and make a distinct urban landmark statement in the centre of Auckland.”

The design brief highlights the importance of respecting key influences on the “fabric of Auckland” including the volcanic landscape of the city, the cultural diversity of Tāmaki-makau-rau, and consideration of Auckland Council’s Te Aranga Principles for Mana Whenua when considering the building design.

Khoo says ICD has a focus on taking an innovative yet consultative and collaborative approach to projects, and the design competition is an example of that sort of thinking.

“Key for Federal St is a design that enhances the Auckland sky line, but the building will also need to be a key part of the upgrade and refreshing of Federal Street and the surrounding streets and laneways.”

He says ICD foresee potential for something like a restaurant hub on the ground floor of the Federal St building similar to HWKR in EQ Tower which is inspired by the hawker food centres in Singapore and Malaysia with interchanging vendors and app-powered ordering.

The final designs will be finished in mid-August and the winner will be announced in early September.

Warren and Mahoney are well known in New Zealand for a diverse range of projects including the New Zealand International Convention Centre and Commercial Bay.

A number of their projects were recently nominated for the World Architecture Awards, including the Memorial Bridge in Christchurch and Auckland’s Waterview Connection.

Zaha Hadid, named after its late founder, has designed 950 projects in more than 40 countries creating transformative cultural, corporate, and residential spaces with Hadid’s use of curves a recurring motif.

The other competing architects involved have done a broad range of work around the world, with Elenberg Fraser the designers of the Eq. Tower which ICD opened in 2017.