University of Auckland Social Sciences Building (B201)

Using almost a third of the average energy of an equivalent new building, the 6 Green Star design for B201 achieves the highest NZGBC sustainability rating ever awarded to a building in New Zealand

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Project Details

Client University of Auckland
Sector Tertiary Education
Location Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
Discipline Architecture, Interior Design, Landscape Architecture, BIM Management
Status Due for Completion in 2024
Size 24,500 sqm
Design Collaborators Beca, Haumi

Industry leading, low carbon design

The adaptive reuse of University of Auckland’s B201 building has been awarded six Green Stars for design by the New Zealand Green Building Council (NZGBC), achieving 93 out of 100 points. This is the most Green Star points given to any New Zealand building to date.

A high-level carbon reduction strategy developed in collaboration with Beca and the University of Auckland led to the replacement of existing concrete cladding with a new high-performance curtain wall system. The design minimizes heat gain through balancing the glazing to wall ratio and inclusion of high-performance glass. The system incorporates industry-leading ‘passive house’ air-tightness design principles, enabling the use of an ‘ultra-low energy’ mechanical ventilation system, so the B201 building will use almost a third of the average energy of an equivalent new building in New Zealand. This ensures the design meets 2030 operational energy targets for net zero carbon.

The carbon emissions saved by reusing the existing structures have been complimented by the use of low carbon materials. The new curtain wall system, replacing the old concrete cladding, uses NZ extruded aluminium, which contains eighty five percent recycled content. The resultant weight reduction allows for the adaptive reuse of the existing structure, ensuring the development also meets 2030 targets for embodied carbon.

Repurposing the existing structure has also reduced the length of construction by one year, providing significant cost savings in the creation of this state of the art, highly adaptable, educational environment.

Bicultural inspiration for a sustainable future

The relationship of the building to its historical and geographical setting was a key consideration in its design, informing the desire to limit the ecological impact of the construction process and the final built product. In collaboration with Haumi, and with the support of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, the design reflects the university’s commitment to learning and sharing knowledge.

The architecture acknowledges the historic trading Pā of Waipapa and the waka that were traditionally brought ashore at Te Tōangaroa for the purpose of trade. The concept of ‘exchange and release’, stemming from the historical purpose the site for mana whenua, is integral to the form and arrangement of the building and aims to draw on the location’s heritage to benefit students into the future.