The building offers a sense of enclosure from the outside and celebrates openness and connection from the inside.
The two vertical structures support basic university operations, centred on academic support. These enclose the interstitial spaces that support other aspects of academic learning: providing common areas where students and staff gather and chat between classes.
With space at a premium in this urban campus, these internal areas provide circulation for lifts, escalators and stairwells supporting peak flows every hour as students and staff begin and end their lectures and seminars throughout the building. They radiate out to views of the edge of the Auckland business district, Albert Park and Rangitoto Island in the distance.
Responding to the physical features of the site, the building pushes to the street edges with energetic use of the ground floor and street-openings. Cafe and common areas open out onto public space and the compact courtyard, concentrating student activity and enlivening the campus.
Perforated woven panels on the building’s northwest wall present an intriguing screen to the city. This screening device mitigates heat-gain and provides intimacy to teaching spaces while allowing discrete views from inside to Auckland’s business district. The screening turns the focus inward to the activity of the students and staff inhabiting the interstitial space.
Interior spaces are exquisitely lined with wood striations, softening and warming the space. In support of university innovation, an AUT design student generated the pacific influenced patterning featured in the building’s glass and carpeting.