Architecture, Engineering

Forsyth Barr Dunedin

A key figure in New Zealand’s finance sector, Forsyth Barr Dunedin, is undergoing a serious revamp. Having held a place in the Dunedin landscape for over 80 years, Forsyth Barr has established itself as a key player in the town’s infrastructure.

Displaying their commitment to the town and to the future of helping the community, Forsyth Barr is undergoing a significant upgrade to ‘Forsyth Barr House’ located in the iconic Octagon. Alongside their financial offerings Forsyth Barr Dunedin is also renowned for its generous sponsorship of the Forsyth Barr Stadium.

Forsyth Barr House has been occupied by the company for 30 years, and remains as the ‘head office’ of the business. In order for the renovation to be completed, staff have temporarily moved into the historic National Bank of New Zealand building. 

The project is undergoing extensive renovations, which include a revamp of the building’s facade. Whilst the building is still property of the Forsyth Barr Team by way of property investors, part-owner Chris Barnes of ADL Properties is taking charge of the renovation process. The ADL team are specialists in luxury workplaces, and regularly transform industrial buildings into contemporary architectural masterpieces.

Dunedin architect Craig McAuliffe, co-owner of McAuliffe Stevens, has been handed the task of bringing the 1960s building into a 21st Century style. According to McAuliffe, “we’re stripping the concrete building back to its bones and giving it a whole new heart, lungs, kidneys – everything. At the end of the process it will be an efficient, warm, and modern building”. The original building remained in almost the exact same condition as when it was built in 1968, and this renovation will see the dated interiors removed to make way for a more functional space. 

A key design aspiration for the space is to ensure that the building remains in keeping with the existing urban landscape of the neighbourhood. A particularly pertinent consideration is the heritage buildings in the surrounding locale, such as St Paul’s Cathedral and the Dunedin Town Hall. Considering these significant architectural buildings, the design ethos for the updated Forsyth Barr Dunedin build is to bring forth a similar architectural value to the town’s urban plain.

The architecture team chose to use Terraçade for the tower’s cladding to help complement the surrounding landscape. ‘The new Terraçade facade somewhat mimics the neighbouring St Paul’s Cathedral,’ says Craig McAuliffe. ‘This building has weathered rock and sandstone elements that form a tapestry of greys- dark at the base and lighter at the top. This connection to the existing historic building in the Octagon precinct was an important element in the design.’ 

Dubbed ‘the pinnacle of ceramic façades’, Terraçade is simple, easy to install, and suitable for major architectural developments, industrial complexes, commercial projects or residential applications. Craig and his team noted other benefits including the product being non-flammable, no maintenance required with extensive product and colour for life warranties, and the modular construction methodology which allowed them to reconcile the new facade over the old facade. Terraçade, being an authentic terracotta product, ensures design flexibility and durability. Its extensive range in colourfast colours and finishes makes it a great product for re-cladding existing buildings.

The Terracotta tile ‘rain screen facade system’ has been designed to sit comfortably alongside St Paul’s Cathedral, with the palette being derived from the tonality found in the patina of the heritage building. In the pursuit of a cohesive design, the window frames were matched to the colour of the Terraçade. The top of the building will feature a nod to the city’s history, with a unique aluminium and copper cladding. 

Offering full design flexibility, ease of installation, outstanding longevity and timeless style, Terraçade is ideal for any large scale construction, or upgrade of an old building. With the added benefits of low-maintenance and sustainability, Terraçade is the perfect option for the environmentally conscious builder, with a predominantly natural materiality and unrivalled longevity.

“This connection to the existing historic building in the Octagon precinct was an important element in the design.”

Craig McAuliffe, co-owner of McAuliffe Stevens

“This connection to the existing historic building in the Octagon precinct was an important element in the design.”

Craig McAuliffe, co-owner of McAuliffe Stevens
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