With an aspirational brief to create a precinct that would transform the university, a key driver of this project was to provide strong physical connections, both within the campus and between campus and city.
AUT’s vision was to create a diverse range of transformational learning environments and provision of campus-wide amenities suitable for its positioning as “the University for the Changing World”. It was important that these learning environments addressed changes in technology and pedagogy through the design quality of flexible student-centric learning spaces.
The site is at a city entry of a tight urban campus and slopes up steeply, enabling ground level entries to the lowest four storeys. The project, which links four existing buildings, is made up of two new public plazas and a new building comprised of two distinct parts with a connecting atrium.
The resulting precinct of learning environments has at its heart a central atrium flanked on one side by lecture theatres wrapped in an eroded timber cloak, and on the other by a ten storey orthogonal tower with a range of flexible and adaptable teaching/learning spaces, and a variety of highly utilised social learning environments which encourage students to stay on campus and work collaboratively. A communications school media centre looking out over the atrium at level five simulates the multi-faceted media world of today. A range of specialist media studios adjacent to the level two “Forum”, are buried under the new level four plaza.
At street levels, the building’s transparent facade acts as a 'shopfront' engaging the public and emphasising the sculptural forms and activity within. The prominent lecture theatre cloak and surrounding timber baffle ceiling, shape the space in response to the complex
geometry of the surrounding streets and campus circulation desire lines.Governor Fitzroy Plaza - designed by the Jasmax landscape team - forms a new gateway into the learning quarter. What was a steep and uninviting street has been terraced and articulated to create both a connected campus and to provide a sunny, lively, café fringed, public space.
The building’s elemental material palette creates both a robust durable finish and warm tactile, experiential quality. The expressive juxtaposition of the different forms and materials gives great clarity to spatial relationships while providing the necessary variety of spaces to accommodate the diversity of students and activities.
- 2014 Property Council NZ Education & Arts Property Award, Excellence
- 2014 NZIA National Awards - Education and Planning and Urban Design
- 2014 NZ Commercial Project Awards - National Category Winner - Education
- 2014 NZ Commercial Project Awards - Silver - Education
- 2013 Interior Awards – Winner – Civic & Education Category
- 2013 Best Awards – Purple Pin – overall winner of spatial design category
- 2013 Best Awards – Gold Award – Civic & Education
- 2013 Best Awards – Gold Award – Built Environment
- 2013 Best Awards – Bronze Award – Furniture
- 2013 NZIA Auckland Architecture Awards – Education and Interior Architecture