The rapturous, attention-commanding skyline of the Auckland CBD is one of the most exciting and attractive aspects of the City of Sails.
It greets visitors like a rush of adrenalin, standing proudly above the vast Hauraki Gulf.
Meanwhile, ensconced in the CBD is a compelling blend of heritage buildings and contemporary feats of urban architecture, adding visual interest to every intersection.
It’s this eclectic mix of old and new – as well as the spectacular skyline – that were key considerations for the designers and developers of 51 Albert, a prestigious new residential and hotel tower that’s set to become an iconic addition to the Auckland cityscape.
'Sky Residences' under construction
Construction of the 41-level, $250 million 51 Albert building is now underway and due for completion late 2023. Once finished, it will be one of Auckland’s tallest skyscrapers, standing at 159 metres. To put that into perspective: the Commercial Bay Tower stands at 180 metres, while the ANZ Centre building is 151 metres tall.
The ambitious project consisting of 30 “sky residences” was designed by architects Scott Carver and is the first NZ complex by Melbourne-based property development company Ninety Four Feet.
Making the most of heritage
Ninety Four Feet Director Dean Rzechta says he instantly saw the potential in the historic site, which will retain the heritage-listed Edwardian façade of the Macdonald Halligan Motors Company, built in 1912.
“It’s a great site, offering a dual frontage address to Albert St and St Patrick’s Square,” he says. “We believe there’s an opportunity here to revitalise this part of Auckland and enhance the public realm through means of design responsiveness to the heritage building, its proposed use and activating the ground-floor perimeter condition.”
“While the broader Auckland CBD skyline was absolutely a key consideration of the design process, so too was the site location in the vicinity of St Patrick’s Square.”
With such pride of place in the central city, it was necessary for the luxury apartment, hotel and hospitality development to complement the surrounding context and, in particular, St Patrick’s Cathedral. Architectural design features such as floor-to-ceiling windows and double height volumes in the entrance enhance the grandeur of the building while breathing new life into it.
“The idea of reinforcing the proportion and composition enhances the visceral connection between the old and the new, creating revitalised spaces which depend significantly on the heritage fabric to ensure its success,” says Dean. “The building is framed by the past and informed by the present and will redefine and enrich the future of Auckland’s CBD. Fusing these paradigms respectfully whilst creating a greater sense of place will positively enhance the public realm for both residents and visitors to this beautiful city.”