ECan's Innovative Workspace: Bridging Field and Office with Purpose-Built Design

An aerial view of ECan's purpose built office building and depot, nestled amidst lush trees, with a railway running along the rear.

In the heart of the dynamic and evolving work landscape, Environment Canterbury (ECan) has taken a significant leap forward with the establishment of its new purpose built office building in Kainga.

Explore a practical, open-plan office with boardrooms and amenities, accentuated by the exposed Coresteel structure.

Kainga's Beacon of Progress: Environment Canterbury's Purpose-Built Office Opens Doors

Designed and constructed by Corcon and engineered in Coresteel Buildings, this isn't just any ordinary office space; it's an 835 square metre, double-storey office marvel thoughtfully designed to cater specifically to the needs of ECan's field workers.

What sets this building apart is not just its impressive size but its' purposeful design that seamlessly bridges the gap between fieldwork and desk work with remarkable ease and efficiency.

The new purpose built office building is situated adjacent to the existing Kainga Depot office structures. It provides more space for operational vehicles and equipment, along with modern meeting rooms and workspace areas.

Versatile spaces in ECan's purpose-built office feature high benches, plywood wall accents, and vibrant greenery.

ECan's Milestone: Unveiling Kainga's Purpose Built Office Building and Depot

In early 2024, Environment Canterbury gathered to celebrate the grand opening of their purpose built office building and depot. The weather couldn't have been better for such a special occasion, with clear blue skies and gentle morning sunlight washing over almost eighty kaimahi (staff), contractors and stakeholders in attendance.

Regional dignitaries oversaw the proceedings, including Canterbury Regional Council Chair Peter Scott, Chief Executive Stefanie Rixecker, Environment Canterbury councillors and local mana whenua.

Councillor Scott highlighted the significance of this depot as ECan's first truly fit-for-purpose building, extending gratitude to all involved in the project's success.

Chair Peter Scott and CEO Stefanie Rixecker stand ready to cut the ribbon, marking the official opening.

Bridging Worlds: Inside ECan's Thoughtfully Designed Workspace in Kainga

As custodians of the environment and natural resources, Environment Canterbury envisioned a purpose built office building and depot that would fulfil operational needs while showcasing real-world sustainable building practices.

Corcon responded to this vision by proposing a philosophy of utilitarianism, an architectural approach that emphasised functionality over ornate grandeur. The goal was to construct a building that would seamlessly integrate with the existing depot structures and maximise efficiency while minimising its ecological impact to align with ECan's core values.

Every facet of the building's design is intentionally crafted, from solar energy and upgraded insulation to the cutting-edge Coresteel Buildings DonoBeam® steel structure with its' proven sustainability

Explore Environment Canterbury's Kainga office: where thoughtful design meets functionality, with inviting break areas and staff lockers

Honouring Heritage: ECan's New Kainga Depot a Testament to Sustainability and Tradition

Kainga holds historical significance, most notably for Ngāi Tūāhuriri. 'Kainga' references traditional Māori settlements or villages where tangata (people) congregate.

Historically, the Kainga area served as a vital waypoint along the journey from East to West to gather pounamu. A ferry connected the banks of the Waimakariri, serving the numerous kainga that dotted the landscape. The settlements provided respite and gathering spots for travellers, particularly for resource-gathering and fishing activities.

The landscape transformed drastically with the construction of a modern railway in the 1930s, further accentuated during World War II when the area was utilised as a military training base.

Uniting forces for a greener tomorrow: Environment Canterbury and Corcon come together to inaugurate a new era of sustainability

Embracing Legacy: Inside ECan's Cultural Showcase at Kainga Depot's Grand Opening

Considerable effort went into weaving the area's rich cultural heritage into every aspect of the purpose built office design and surrounding landscape.

In the foyer, a meticulously handwoven tukutuku panel steals the show. Titled 'Kainga Tūturu, Old, Traditional Kainga', the art piece's intricately crafted details narrate Kainga's story and cultural significance to mana whenua.

A striking harakeke putiputi floral arrangement skillfully crafted by ECan kaimahi and the Tuia window manifestations symbolise ECan's deep ties with Ngāi Tahu.

Freshly planted native flora envelops the depot, and a substantial kōhatu/boulder rests at the building's entrance, representing the timeless journey of water from the mountains to the sea, warmly welcoming visitors to the site.

These aspects collectively acknowledge the connection between ‘Old Kainga, Kainga Tūturu’ and the new building. Chair Scott and CEO Rixecker concluded the event by planting a kōwhai tree, signifying new beginnings.

Master kairaranga/weavers Morehu Flutey-Henare (left) and Hera Maxwell, alongside Chair Peter Scott, present their magnificent tukutuku panel.

A Hub for Progress: Impact on the Community

The opening of the Environment Canterbury depot marks a momentous milestone for the community. Not only does it provide essential support for the organisation's vital network, but it also contributes to the economic and social fabric of the region.

Corcon is thankful for the opportunity to lead as the head contractor in constructing a purpose built office hub dedicated to environmental initiatives and community outreach.

In particular, we acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of dedicated staff and invaluable partners working long hours to ensure the successful completion of the ECAN office depot in only six months.

A special mention goes to Corcon assets, foreman Alex Jones, project manager Brett Due, and roofer David Fahey. Their commitment and collaboration are the true magic behind this project's success.

Director Stephen Fitzgerald (third from left) with Corcon members and RW Design Architects at the newly completed ECAN building

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