New Zealand Commercial Design Trends Series NZ Commercial Design Trends Vol. 30/9 - Page 14

different colours, which help with wayfinding. The colours reference the baskets of knowledge from traditional Maori mythology. Motifs introduced on the exterior also flow through to the inside. And the design team specified Southland beech timber throughout the interior to add warmth and to bring a residential feel to the building. Dramatic wood panels are a key feature of the atrium ceiling, and the auditorium, with the diamond motif repeated in both areas. Flexible learning environments are created by positioning columns at the perimeter of the building rather than in the centre. Johnston says it is difficult to know what the institute’s needs might be in 20 years, but these floorplates can be adapted easily. The sense of openness also extends to the train station, where the entry, in one corner of the atrium, is angled at 45°. 12 SEARCH | SAVE | SHARE AT “Again we wanted to remove barriers and make the entry as seamless as possible,” says Johnston. Peter Quigg, MIT director of academic operations, says one of MIT’s fundamental operating strategies is to make education accessible. “Having an integrated transport interchange fulfils that need almost to perfection,” he says. “Accessibility has a direct bearing on student numbers, especially in our catchment area, so to have rail and bus services bring people right to the door couldn’t be better.” Quigg says the new building is the first phase of a three-phrase project that will eventually see two further MIT buildings adding another 45,000m2 to the facility. There are also plans to build Te Papa North Museum on the other side of Hayward Park, which will be an additional drawcard. Below:Learning spaces include an auditorium, which is lined with beech timber, interactive classrooms and breakout student hubs on each level of the atrium. These feature colourful furniture and pods where students can meet and share ideas. Right:The student hubs occupy the sky bridges that link both sides of the atrium.