RCG ltd 17 The University of Auckland / UP Education

  • Pou Auaha / Creative Director
    Andy Florkowski
  • Ngā Kaimahi / Team Members
    Jamie Howard, Arakatera Maihi
  • Client
    UP Education

Project Brief:
• Rethink the entry experience to the campus so it has a strong sense of place – it is often the first impression of NZ that students have.
• Create an environment that embodies narratives and ideas that are unique to Aotearoa.
• Create an environment that supports inhabitation as much as it does circulation.
• The space had a very tight budget

Response to Brief:
• The space embodies a bi-cultural dialogue. We viewed the entry experience through the lens of a pōwhiri, but also wanted to acknowledge the various journeys of the international students.
• We re-thought the existing ‘fishbowl’ by inserting a timber ‘cloak’ within the double height space. The decorative purapura whetu fretwork is both an acknowledgement to the Wharenui but also a nod to the individual connections and journeys.
• Create a stronger connection with Queen Street and the external environment.
• Create spaces for students to work and enjoy – and also move through.
• Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei suggested design interventions which created a stronger connection to the land.

Materials and Detailing:
• The plaza takes on the role of an Atea and is connected to the interior through flooring materials and whakairo. The Kaokao pattern is embraced through the flooring and matwells, and is used as a navigational device to pull people into the space from the exterior
• Greenery, dark surfaces and warm timbers create a calming and intimate environment
• Whakairo (by Arakatera Maihi) act as Kaitiaki while also expressing narratives of education and leadership

Innovation and Creativity:
• The tinted glazing was swapped for clear glazing to create a stronger connection with the external environment.
• Mirror has been used to cloak the heavy existing structure (eg beams) and reflect the new interventions
• LED lighting within the cloak is colour changing, and can be dialed to celebrate certain cultural festivals across the year