Auckland city is, without a doubt, witnessing an unprecedented bout of daring and in some cases record-breaking apartment complexes. The Pacifica falls in a category of its own: the city’s highest residential tower. At a soaring 178m, the development is not just poised to redefine the local skyline but to do so with a certain sense of flair.
From the harbour, The Pacifica sits to the right of the Vero Building with the Sky Tower a few blocks further back. The building’s slick but restrained lines and imposing, yet comfortable volume seem like an excellent addition to a rapidly growing urban centre. Its materiality also offers a point of difference.
Its glass façade is composed of three blue glass tubes that twirl upward. This energetic gesture entices onlookers to engage with its architecture as their gaze is pulled toward the sky. The exterior will also reflect the city and the views beyond.
Likewise, The Pacifica’s interiors are expected to dazzle, explains director of Plus Architecture NZ, Jaimin Atkins. “Because of the amazing site location, the apartments are designed to capture the expansive harbour views. We have developed a palette of materials, which all work really nicely together and are really sophisticated, but act as a backdrop to the views.”
The apartments will come with an attractive baseline interior palette, and some upgrades will also be available for those wanting something of a higher spec. There are a variety of apartment sizes and layouts available to cater to different markets.
“Even the smallest apartment is around 60m2, which is very generous,” says Atkins. “Purchasers for the penthouse floors will have a lot of say in being able to combine spaces, to make their homes bigger or smaller. The hope was to create smaller markets within what is a big tower.”
Some of the units will have enclosed winter gardens, similar to conservatories, and uninterrupted sight lines as far as Great Barrier Island, while others will include balconies.
Communal amenities include a lap pool, sauna, steam room, spa, gym and yoga studio, media room, residents lounge, library and barbecue terrace. The lower floors will contain a boutique hotel and a high-end restaurant and café. A laneway known as Pacific Lane will run between Commerce St, Fort St, and Gore St, creating a link through the block.
The building can be seen as a vote of confidence in Auckland’s future and a sign of the incredible demand for apartments in our largest and fastest growing city. In order to be able to build to such towering heights, the developer has bought the air rights above the neighbouring, historic Achilles House building. This also means that views from Pacifica will be protected.
Siteworks are now underway, and building will begin at the end of the year, with a completion date of 2020.
Jaimin Atkins is the director of Plus Architecture NZ, the firm in charge of The Pacifica.
What is the overall development concept here?
Using the site’s unique characteristics to generate the building’s language. The four blue glass tubes that twist around the building are derived from the four interfaces of the site: Gore St Laneway entry, Commerce St (ghost of Taspac House), Commerce St Laneway entry and Podium Top from Achilles House. These tubes connect the site’s interfaces in a rising vortex that ends with a dramatic vertical elevation into the sky.
What effect do you think The Pacifica will have on the skyline?
The Auckland skyline has an overwhelming horizontality to many of its buildings, so The Pacifica with its verticality will be very prominent against this existing condition.
Sky homes and high-rise living is common overseas. What do you think the New Zealand reaction will be to this new concept of ‘living in the sky’?
Positive. Urban living is a choice between being detached from everything and having to drive to get to suburban amenities versus being attached and having all the amenities you want within walking distance.
I know I would prefer (and have for the last 15 years, until moving to Christchurch) to live in an apartment and walk to work, the cinema or the supermarket and then spend my weekends with my family or playing golf instead of living in a house in the suburbs and having to commute everywhere and spend hours in traffic only to have to trim the trees, mow the lawns and sweep the driveway on the weekends.