Best Practices in Educational Facilities Investments

University of Auckland Business School, Auckland, New Zealand

Exemplary design categories: community use and involvement, cultural and historical value, energy efficiency, flexible learning settings, green school, technology rich

How the facility meets the needs of education and communities:
The principal objective of this project was to co-locate and consolidate the school’s widely dispersed activities into a single identity, strengthening ties with both staff and students, and with that of private industry and the broader community. The inspiration for the project was drawn directly from the fusion of natural landscape, urban form and Maori/Colonial heritage of cultural exchange. At the heart of this complex are two interconnected spaces that create a shared centre of scholarly community. First, a welcoming forecourt defined through the gentle curve of the embracing ribbons reinterprets traditional Polynesian and Maori spaces for dialogue and meeting. The buildings’ ribbon forms are created through layers of stainless steel and glass, incorporating a suspended external, glazed shade-panel of titanium inter-layers. The application of a striped titanium interlay had never been done before with no commercially available technology for the manufacture. This layered façade system ventilates, shades and mediates glare while orientating the internal workplaces to light and views of the Harbour and landscape. Second, the focal atrium that gathers and connecting all levels with "social-hub" bridges, platforms busy with meeting and collaboration. The life of the building is visible and transparent to all those that work, study or visit it. The building meets provides state-of-the-art lecture theatres, case rooms, computer labs and study and social spaces for students and staff, which have been designed as flexible spaces, hence they can easily be used for more than one purpose. Communication technologies are embedded in the lecture theatres and throughout the building, for example in the new building the School has developed and uses a range of technologies to support learning including computer supported learning, lecture recording which is accessible over the web, and communication of lecture schedules and other events through large flat-screen monitors throughout the building. The tower floor is generally linear in proportion, highly glazed and with a very high percentage of habitable space all within 7.5m of a window, maximising natural light. Building water use is minimised through the use of storm water harvesting and the use of high efficiency fixtures. The office spaces have been designed to maximise indoor air quality and minimise energy use through the use of a mixed mode ventilation system. The most significant and visible solar control devices are the glass sunscreens creating a multilayered high efficiency façade. This mitigates solar gain and glare, while maintaining good natural lighting. The HVAC control system utilises web based interfacing to allow the University’s Facilities Management to monitor and control all systems. Specific items used to minimise energy consumption include: occupancy sensors in teaching spaces; use of CO2 monitoring to control car park ventilation plant; use of movement sensors to control car park lighting; and use of the atrium void as a “heat stack” to assist in ventilation of public areas. this building is one of the outcomes of the first Partnership for Excellence in New Zealand. This program, which was established by the New Zealand Government established a funding partnership between the New Zealand Government, the University of Auckland, and members of the New Zealand business community. The result was the most successful educational fund-raising campaign in the history of philanthropy in New Zealand.

Involvement of users and the local community in the planning and design process:
The University and the Business School community were actively involved in the planning and design process through an international design competition which involved University, Business School and external members. Many discussions were held with members of the business community about the goals and objectives of the building in the process of seeking financial support. Focus groups were used extensively within the School and the University to complete the design brief and to work on detailed layout.

Activity Areas: The 74 000m2, 13-level tower and podium complex contains 700 parking spaces (37 000m2 ), data centres and plant rooms (5 300m2), academic and data centre areas (31,376 m2) and New Zealand largest teaching floor (9 331m2) with two 600-seat, two 300-seat lecture, one 150-seat lecture theatre, four 75 -seat case rooms, 12 computer labs each seating 32, a Business Information Centre and numerous breakout, study spaces and social hubs. The brief also required office space for over 400 academic and professional staff plus commercial facilities including café, Restaurant, University branch of ASB (Bank), Staff spaces and courtyards around the building.

Project costs: NZD 220,000,000.00

Source: Submitted to OECD for "Designing for Education: Compendium of Exemplary Educational Facilities 2011" in 2010

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User perspectives (1)

“The objective was to build a leading edge venue with facilities and technologies that would contribute significantly to interaction, interconnectedness and an extraordinary learning experience. To realise the Business School's ambition to create a truly first-class international business school, the New Zealand Government, the University and the business community came together in a partnership to invest in the development of the School. Since the Prime Minister officially opened it in early 2008, this distinctive and iconic building has added significantly to the promotion of a sense of community, pride and identity. The technology and spaces within the building provide a dynamic, interactive learning environment which has encouraged team based and project-based learning. The building has also helped to lift the profile of New Zealand business by housing a Business Story Wall and a Business Hall of Fame which celebrate New Zealand business.”
Professor Barry Spicer, Dean of the University of Auckland Business School 1997 – June 2008

Images (5)

Drawings (3)

Level 0 Plan (Registration required)
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Credit: Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp in association with Archimedia
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Credit: Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp in association with Archimedia
Site plan (Registration required)
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Credit: Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp in association with Archimedia