The first major new development at the AUT’s South Campus, the MH building, is quickly approaching completion on site and is due to open Semester 1, 2017.
The 11,000 sqm development is an “L” shaped building, composed of 3 storey and 4 storey academic spaces linked with a multi-purpose atrium, which is intended to be used as a forum for University and Community events. The building encloses a new green quad that as well as forming a social heart of the campus will also be an important space for welcoming the community into the university. Academic spaces include the first two lecture theatres at AUT South plus a big boost to classroom, staff office and social learning facilities.
The design aims to fulfil the University’s broader campus aspirations of supporting academic excellence, enhancing its campuses and engaging with the community. The building specifically aims to provide high quality and adaptable spaces for the growing campus, to form an active campus heart and an environment that encourages students to remain on campus. The building also aims to reflect a prestigious University that is inclusive and part of the community.
An integrated design process identified design features that would add value on multiple sustainability and aspirational fronts. Raised access floors allow services to be reticulated beneath the floor, which significantly increases the adaptability of interior spaces. The raised floor also acts as an air plenum, which is part of a highly energy efficient displacement ventilation system.
The aluminium façade has been designed to reduce solar heat gain and thus support the low-energy displacement ventilation system. Each elevation is designed to respond to the solar orientation and to support the function of the interior spaces, such as the primary social and circulation spine running along the north façade, which is connected to the green quad through extensive glazed curtain wall and is protected from the sun by the horizontal brise-soleil.
The red aluminium cladding unifies the varying elevations and shading mechanisms. Through the contrast its colour provides, it celebrates the green leafiness of the mature trees on the campus,together giving a unique identity to the first development at AUT South.