The award, presented at the ninth International Symposium on High Performance Concrete Design in Rotorua, recognised the “reuse – reduce” strategies adopted by the project principals.
This strategy enables the building’s life cycle to be significantly increased, the embodied energy of its concrete elements to be saved, and the emissions associated with alternative demolition and new build scenarios prevented — all key to achieving environmental sustainability in construction.
Stripping the site’s 14-level, 1970s concrete structural frame of its cladding and fit-out to form the heart of a refurbished and modern building also underpinned the project’s commercial viability, as well as breathing new life into the urban environment around Queen Elizabeth Square.
The Awards, part of the Concrete3 initiative launched in 2007 by the Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ), acknowledge projects, products and initiatives which demonstrate excellence in environmental, economic and/or social sustainability for the built environment.
On their way to the top prize, the team behind 21 Queen Street also received the Excellence in Commercial Concrete Construction award.
CCANZ chief executive Rob Gaimster says that through the reuse of a concrete frame building, the project met all the economic, social and environmental imperatives of sustainable development, elevating it above a host of outstanding entries in 2011.
The awards also produced winners in four other categories, for projects which excelled in different areas of sustainable concrete construction.
Excellence in Concrete Innovation went to engineering firm Structex for the Southern Cross Hospital’s Endoscopy Building in Christchurch which, for the first time in New Zealand, used post-tensioned concrete PRESSS (PREcast Seismic Structural Systems) technology with U-Shape Flexural Plates.
This innovative approach to structural engineering and construction saw the medical facility, which has a Building Importance Level 3 classification, emerge unscathed from the February 22 earthquake.
Excellence in Residential Concrete Construction was awarded to Daniel Marshall Architects for Elmstone House in Auckland, a contemporary home which makes use of precast concrete over three floors to optimise a steep site, and offers comfortable, energy-efficient and low-maintenance family living.
Excellence in Concrete for the Community was won by Golden Bay Cement which is progressively replacing imported fossil fuels with locally sourced renewable alternatives, such as wood biofuel, to help reduce landfill waste as well as carbon dioxide emissions during cement manufacture.
Excellence in Civil Concrete Construction was awarded to Downer New Zealand for the DART 9 rail link station in Manukau.
Constructed under the Leighton Works partnership, this below ground facility, built entirely of concrete, used advanced secant pile technology and specialised concrete mix designs to realise a vital piece of infrastructure for the wider Auckland community.