Auckland’s $86m B:Hive co-working space sets new standard

Auckland’s $86m B:Hive co-working space sets new standard

3 January 2020

Auckland’s $86 million B:Hive co-working building is setting a new standard when it comes to changing workplace habits.

Voted the best office in the world at the 2019 World Architecture Festival, B:Hive has a winding orange staircase and light-filled atrium that creates ample space for the must-have assortment of kitchens, lounges, breakout desks and enclosed meeting rooms.

Unlike many co-working spaces, it’s not located in a former warehouse, factory or shed. Rather, it’s located in an office park — Smales Farm — a suburban office park on the northern side of Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour.

The space reflects the fact that “the postwar ideal of breadwinner-commuter ‘Homo suburbiensis’ is fading into a workforce of people wanting a better balance of work and private life,” reports The Australian Financial Review.

“It’s a clear move we are seeing among many clients. The so-called ‘war for talent’ is absolutely part of the reason why they will rethink their workplaces to enable people to have much more flexible lifestyles, including parental leave, bringing children to the workplace, bringing dogs to the workplace,” says BVN Architecture director James Grose.

“Business parks are dead unless they realise, like landlords and high-rise buildings, that work has changed and they need to understand that they’ve got to spend a lot of energy recalibrating what they’ve got. Otherwise they’ll be cactus.

“Traditionally, business parks rely in the main on large corporate tenants who work in a traditional nine-to-five model and use, basically, a car base. You can’t provide a one-size-fits-all space any more. You have to provide a whole experience,” Grose says.

One of the key drivers for the changing world of office design is wellness.

“Wellness is moving a long way further than being just about whether or not you’ve got access to a yoga class or gym,” says Robyn Lindsey, partner at design firm Geyer.

According to Lindsey, wellness will get a lot more sophisticated, natural light will play an increasingly important role and there will be a lot more greenery.

Air quality will also be a key factor moving forward, especially with the impact of Australia’s recent bushfire crisis.

“The air quality in the best buildings in the city that are geared up for it would have been the safest place to be in terms of air quality over the last few weeks in Sydney,” Lindsey says.