University of Auckland                Park West (B507)

Designed to support ground-breaking medical discovery, Park West introduces an elegant, light filled research facility to the University's Grafton Campus

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Project Details

Client University of Auckland
Sector Education, Health & Science
Location Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland
Discipline Masterplanning, Architecture, Interior Design
Status Completed 2020
Size 19,000 sqm
Design Collaborator Boffa Miskell (Landscape Architect)
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Strategic consolidation

The Park West / B507 building represents the University of Auckland’s long-term vision to consolidate its School of Population Health and School of Medicine to the Grafton Campus, located opposite Auckland City Hospital. The development forms part of the campus’ wider masterplan designed by Jasmax for the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, which includes the redevelopment of its existing teaching and research facilities, including a new building on Boyle Crescent.

The building’s form and scale respond to the surrounding neighbourhood, providing an elegant addition to Park Road and the wider campus whilst maximising the development potential of the site. Its exterior introduces a contemporary foil to heritage neighbours, also featuring generous street canopies and a pared back material palette. Patterned glazing at lower levels draws inspiration from numerical data, referencing the sheer volume of information underpinning the study of population health.

The B507 building contains a variety of academic and collaboration spaces arranged around a generous light-filled atrium, including a teaching and research clinic. In line with the University’s brief, it has also been future-proofed with flexible floor plates to allow a range of activities to be retrofitted if required. Generous 4.2m floor-to-ceiling heights reinforce this adaptability.

The building also serves an important community function, offering subsidised audiology and other clinical treatments to the public. Originally located on the site, the University Creche has also been relocated to a new purpose-built facility – Te Ako o Te Tui – delivering an improved environment for children of faculty staff and students.

Bringing together sustainability, health and wellbeing

Prioritising optimisation of the site and future adaptability are the key sustainability strategies for this project. The durability and quality of the building’s construction also means it will long outlast its 50-year design life, providing the University with an energy efficient asset suitable for a wide range of current and future purposes.

Hidden from the street, a large outdoor courtyard to the west draws light into the spaces below street level. The building also features vertical lightwells designed to draw light into the interior, providing internal offices with daylight, enhancing awareness of changing weather and time of day.

Additional energy conservation and sustainability features include high efficiency lighting operated by intelligent control systems, including real-time data gathering software which enables fine tuning of the building’s operating system to minimise the operational carbon footprint; a warm roof which reduces heating and cooling requirements; natural ventilation; an optimised façade design to maximises energy efficiency; and an HVAC system which recovers and redirects excess heat around the building, providing a free source of heat during colder seasons.

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A successful pathway to delivery

Relocating the University’s School of Population Health from its Tāmaki Campus in time for the 2020 academic year resulted in a highly efficient design and construction programme of 36 months. Meeting this programme was achieved through rigorous adherence to milestones and excellent leadership from the client and project management team.

Working to a tight construction programme and within a highly volatile trades market, the motivated, collaborative project team also managed to deliver the faculty significantly under budget.

Optimising the development’s planning envelope was a key outcome of the building’s design. The requirement for space drove an intentionally pared back layout, based on a simple steel structural system extending across two wings which follow street frontages, and connected by an atrium, with four levels above the street. A two-level basement also contributed to maximising the development capacity.

The building was constructed in two phases. The structural design enabled top-down and bottom-up construction for speed, enabling early occupation of the building’s upper levels. The floor grid and structural system were repeated in both wings allowing the contractor to apply learnings from construction of the first phase to accelerate delivery of the second.

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Awards

2021 PCNZ Awards - Education - Excellence