Lincoln University brings its 19th century complex bang up to date with a pivoting, sliding, flexible extension
The new purpose built Landscape Architecture School for Lincoln University in Canterbury, New Zealand, had to overcome a whole number of challenges. A very tight budget, about two thirds the level of similar University building budgets, the desire for a highly sustainable design and the need for a careful insertion of a new structure within a sensitive established context of well loved, low rise, red brick buildings and delightful landscaped courtyards, were all demanding conditions met with real success.
The two level building is wrapped on the north by a three dimensionally folded environmental wall that mitigates and controls the internal environment through passive and automated means. The building is open and spatially stimulating with large circulation areas and a generous internal street to encourage interaction and the type of chance encounters and discussions that foster innovative learning and unplanned synergies.
Folding and pleating strategies are used throughout the design from the acoustically slotted timber ceiling panels floating over the main spaces to the pleating of the brickwork on the outside. Picking up on the predominant campus material of red brick the building treats brick as a non structural infill textile (appropriate in an earthquake prone place such as New Zealand) folding and pleating it up at openings like curtains. This fabric like material hangs within an exposed natural concrete frame holding and tying the composition together.
Pivoting, sliding and moving panels throughout allow for real flexibility, multiuse activities and fluid space appropriate to today’s world of rapid change and flux. The building has proved to be a real success creating a whole new culture of openness, easy interchange of ideas and flexible learning for the school. It is a building of the 21st century that sits respectfully next to its 19th century neighbours.