Bowen Campus Stage 1

Defence House
  • Precinct Properties
  • Wellington

RCP partnered with Precinct Properties and its multiple tenants to transform two post-World War II buildings in Wellington into modern, highly efficient and cost-effective office towers for the public sector. The development elegantly pairs valuable government sector accommodation and exciting new retail opportunities with a reactivated landscape, creating an integrated development – Bowen Campus. 

Located on a significant and high-profile site, Bowen Campus encompasses a hectare of land in the centre of the government precinct adjacent to the Beehive and Parliament Buildings in Wellington’s CBD.  

The redeveloped buildings are two of the city’s most important ‘modernist’ buildings designed since World War II: the historic 10-level Bowen State Building (renamed Defence House), the headquarters for the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), and Charles Fergusson Building, now home to the Ministry for Primary Industries. Redeveloping such major landmarks in the hub of the capital meant careful renovation sensitive to their heritage.  

Delivered under an early contractor involvement contract, base build works included demolishing the existing façade and fitout, removing all plant and equipment, stripping the building back to its existing concrete structure and seismic strengthening to 100 percent of the New Building Standard. The work also involved a curtainwall glass façade and new lift systems throughout each building. The project was designed to meet a 5 Green Star rating. 

Stakeholder engagement in this dense, busy business district was critical and RCP leveraged existing relationships with project neighbours to ensure successful delivery. It also built strong relationships with the key utility providers, negotiating the timing of service installation and commissioning. This helped to effectively manage the construction programme, taking a ‘dig once’ approach to minimise any unnecessary disruption. 

A key challenge for Defence House was integrating the high levels of security required by NZDF, meaning use of non-typical detailing and materials. This introduced new risks to the project with greater chance of cost overruns and delays. RCP mitigated these by closely managing the process, design selection and client risk awareness, and ensuring excellent communication. 

Completed in 2019, this is just the first stage of a larger project. RCP has also provided design and delivery consulting services to Precinct Properties for stage two.


Property Council New Zealand Awards

Best in Category – Commercial Office, 2020

New Zealand Institute of Architects Wellington Awards
  • Commercial, 2020

  • Commercial Architecture, 2019