A Long Life
In a previous life, with a reputation as one of Auckland’s grandest hotels, “The Grand” was a three-storey building, accommodating wealthier visitors to the city from 1889 until 1966. Guests included Queen Elizabeth II, the Duke of Edinburgh, Noel Coward, Gracie Fields, Anthony Eden, Jean Batten, and numerous other “notables” of the time.
It experienced a “re-birth” in 1967/8 when as the “Grand Building” it was fitted out as offices. In the 1980s consent was granted to build the 15-storey, concrete office tower behind the original building.
In 2016 work began on a radical change where the original facade of the Grand Hotel has been preserved, with the office tower converted into apartments, to be known as “The International”. This has involved structural strengthening and re-design, and meticulous restoration of the original facade. The lobby has been refurbished to a high standard as fitting a building of this heritage.
A significant feature of the new building is the striking steel lattice which cantilevers of the building, providing private conservatories for every apartment.
The International also provides a large outdoor swimming pool and spa, gymnasium, library, and a private cinema. Situated at entry-level, renowned New Zealand chef Josh Emmet, has created a new restaurant, Onslow – which he describes as “refined, but not fine dining”.
Smart Building Technology
Working with Allendale Electrical, our task was to supply and program the smart building technology for the shared areas (entry, lobby, corridors, cinema, cafe, etc) as well as provide controls for the penthouse apartments on floors 15, 16 and 17.
For the common areas, a DALI system was utilised with C-Bus control of the DALI lights. Phase dimmers were also utilised. C-Bus Zen wall plates provided the upmarket look the client was seeking, with eDLTs used as master switches in reception and sitting areas. In public areas such as corridors and stairs the lights are controlled via movement sensors, and via schedules to control light levels according to the time of day.
The Onslow required more specialised programming of their C-Bus control system, to provide easy to use lighting “scenes” which could be adjusted, saved, and then operated by the restaurant’s manager.
In the penthouse apartments, the C-Bus Zen style switches were also employed, controlling DALI fittings and phase dimmers. Interfacing with audio-visual systems was provided where required.
The International is located in an area populated with many apartment buildings, with some of the highest resale values of any city area. With the adjacent grounds of Old Government House and Albert Park with century-old trees and walking paths, it is also exceptionally quiet. This is despite its proximity to Queen Street, Britomart, and the Auckland Art Gallery.
The project will be completed this year, some 130+ years after the Grand Hotel first opened its doors to the elite of the Victorian era.