Meeting sustainability with open arms...

Rachel
Monday 23 Feb 2009

FJMT and Archimedia collaborate to create iconic new Auckland University building does the business

A new landmark symbolising research and knowledge was sought by the University, which values excellence, innovation and progress and reflects an openness and embrace of the wider community. FJMT and Archimedia drew inspiration directly from the fusion of natural landscape, urban form and Maori / Colonial heritage of cultural exchange. The fluid and open architectural expression, through a series of ‘breathing’ glass and stainless steel ribbons, creates a gesture of invitation, outreach and optimism, gathering the energy of the site into a major new public open space.

An equal inspiration is the ambition of the University to consolidate all the Business related departments under one roof to foster teaching, collaboration and exchange in the Auckland business community and nationwide. Therefore at the heart of this complex are two interconnected spaces that create a shared centre of scholarly community; a welcoming forecourt defined through the gentle curve of the embracing ribbons that reinterprets traditional Polynesian and Maori spaces for dialogue and meeting, and the focal atrium that gathers and connects all levels with ‘social-hub’ bridges, platforms busy with meeting and collaboration.

The building meets three important environmental and social sustainability initiatives. Firstly, an open and inviting building form inspired by the landscape and ‘flow’ of the site, thus connecting the natural and urban qualities of the site and reaching out to both Maori and Western cultures and the academic and business worlds. Secondly the environmental, breathable skin that mediates the conditions within the building, created through a multilayered facade with a combination of stainless steel, high performance operable glazing and suspended exterior glass sun / glare screen, featuring the worlds first integrated titanium interlay system that mitigates solar gain and glare for mixed mode natural ventilation and good natural lighting.

Finally, an emphasis on exchange, transparency, openness and collegiality in the design of all the interior and exterior spaces, both structured teaching and social / informal, to create a new type of environment that will promote learning and innovation, as a place of knowledge exchange and collaboration for all.

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