Next time you’re in downtown Auckland, head to the corner of Wyndham and Albert Streets and behold the country’s first ‘stacked hotel’. Helping put together such a structure might seem simple, but it turns out that designing two hotels in one brings a unique set of challenges.
Experts from WSP New Zealand and WSP Australia were involved in the new hotel building’s acoustic, fire, wind, and waste management design. The task was far from simple – not least because of the tight site footprint and running the same critical infrastructure services across two separate hotels.
The 294-room Holiday Inn Express Auckland City Centre has just opened on the lower floors of the 135-metre-high building, with a 201-room voco™ Auckland City Centre hotel on the upper floors.
Building two hotels stacked on top of each other is a specialist undertaking. It’s different to constructing an office or apartment complex, says WSP New Zealand Acoustic Engineering Manager Chris Bradley.
Designing building systems and services around small hotel rooms means there’s less margin for error. Acoustically, WSP had to come up with a system that controlled sound between back-to-back rooms and prefabricated bathroom pods in both hotels.
“Once the bathroom pods were slid in, that was it. They couldn’t be moved. We had to get our acoustic calculations just right - well before the pods were prefabricated and shipped over from across the Tasman,” says Chris.
As if that wasn’t challenging enough, the Holiday Inn Express rooms had to meet European acoustic standards while the higher end voco™ rooms had to meet more stringent North American standards.
WSP’s role in the building’s fire design included making sure the entire structure was resilient to fire, designing fire-fighting access and facilities, evacuation routes and systems.
WSP New Zealand Fire and Life Safety Manager Biswadeep Ghosh says one of the biggest challenges was running services in common through the entire building and splitting them in plant rooms devoted to each hotel.
Fire equipment and water storage tanks are located on different levels. Firefighters can use a dedicated firefighting lift that travels between both hotels. A pressurisation system has been developed for the entire building to stop smoke from getting into stairwell evacuation routes.
The building is Aotearoa’s 13th tallest structure and boasts the country’s highest rooftop bar. Because of its height, a staged evacuation process has been instituted. In the event of an emergency, floors will evacuate every two minutes - from bottom to top. At 20 minutes, all floors can evacuate.
Making sure the building can cope with Auckland’s wind and that its waste management systems are as sustainable as possible was another strong focus of WSP’s design involvement.
Proinvest is the owner / developer of the property and Icon were the constructors. Find out more about its construction in this behind-the-scenes video from 2021.