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PIKO Wholefoods Christchurch


Piko is a well established and much loved Christchurch Wholefoods store. PIKO Wholefoods new, specially designed and environmentally friendly building has certainly managed to help successfully re-establish the business in the Central City. Following the devastating Christchurch earthquakes which saw the original building reduced to rubble in parts, PIKO decided to rebuild on the existing site.
That PIKO would create an environment friendly building, perhaps goes without saying, but still meant that practicalities and, not in the the least, budgets had to be carefully considered. The result is a practical application of many eco-principles and a few lessons learned along the way.
The initial design approach taken by selected Architect, Russell Devlin of - Solarchitect Ltd. in Christchurch was to produce a commercial building based on ‘Passive Solar’ design principles.
This saw the building reoriented 180 degrees to open it up to the sun and to significantly improve Customer access on a difficult corner for traffic and access in general. The original dark interior has become filled with natural light and sun and has a vibrant atmosphere.
Glass facades to the street were a planning requirement and, facing East, did cause concern in the design stage. Attractive shading screens were designed, however it was desirable to retain natural light and visibility. Morning sun control has been added in the form of retractable blinds which also protect some of the store stock when required.
The relatively light weight structure assisted with building costs and the laminated timber grid form was conceived by the Architect to provide a natural, timber feel for the interior. Combined with an innovative LED lighting design the interior won a NZ Timber Design Award commendation.
The Passive Solar approach taken by Solarchitect addresses both the form and functional aspects of design. The atrium-style entryway to the store provides ventilation with its height and natural light. The building newly oriented to the North utilizes its roof forms to support solar panels and energy production. The building produces about one third of the energy it requires with this solar array. In energy use, the building costs a similar amount to run as it did in its original form, nearly ten years ago and now at three time the size.! Further energy studies are planned to optimize the 10kW solar panel installation now that it is up and running.

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PIKO Wholefoods Christchurch: Recent Projects
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