New Zealand Commercial Design Trends Series NZ Commercial Design Trends Vol. 30/9 - Page 12

a welcoming, all-embracing facility. Providing the interchange within the building enabled us to go beyond mere co-location towards true integration. It is literally bringing education to the people.” On the exterior, the building boldly addresses the street providing a defining landmark that is a key part of the rejuvenation of adjoining Hayward Park. An exposed white diagrid, with a diamond-shaped grid, reinforces a sense of place. “This needed to be a cultural building that would reflect the community and express its place in the world,” says the architect. “So rather than using an orthogonal grid on the facade, we opted for the duality of a design that is reminiscent of traditional weaving patterns. It expresses the idea of both technology and craft. While this is a highly technical building we have imbued the entire campus with a sense of craft and textural richness.” The facade is further defined by layering. Beyond the diagrid are fixed louvres, angled to deflect the sun and reduce heat loads inside. Horizontal louvres feature on the east and north sides of the building, while the west facade has vertical louvres. Another key determining factor in the design was the existing rail trench. “The building needed to straddle the trench, so much of the structure is hung from the roof trusses – in part it was built from the roof down, rather than 10 SEARCH | SAVE | SHARE AT from the ground up,” says Johnston. “This has given the building a certain lightness that would not have been achieved otherwise.” This need to accommodate the trench led to the soaring six-storey atrium, which was not part of the original brief. “By enclosing this area, rather than having separate wings linked by an open courtyard, we created the opportunity for a major civic space at the heart of the building,” says Johnston. “Every floor has a mezzanine that opens into the atrium, enhancing a sense of connection at all levels, both horizontally and vertically. The learning process is highly visible and the entire building is animated – people are much more likely to use the stairs rather than the lifts because they are such a prominent part of the architecture.” At the west end of the atrium, sky bridges form social student hubs on each level. These are as much a part of the learning environment as the classrooms. “Modern pedagogy is much more focused on peer-to-peer learning. This building follows that trajectory. More than half the learning spaces are open and defined only by furniture and moveable screens. There is a lower proportion of traditional learning spaces,” Johnston says. The various levels on the building are defined by Below:The triangular pattern reappears on the carpets, with each floor defined by a different colourway. Right:Glazing in the atrium is confined to clerestory windows and the ends of the buildings, rather than overhead. This ensures the interior is not affected by solar heat gain. Much of the atrium is suspended from the roof, due to the need to straddle the rail trench below ground. The building comprises three separate structures designed to move independently in a seismic event.