Wingate Architects Ltd 12 Marchese Partners Wakefield Street Student Commons

Colour Award Spatial 2021 Credits
  • Creative Director
    Kate Price
  • Team Members
    Blair Keenan, Georgia Brown, Wendy Poon, Oliva Jeung
  • Client
    Cedar Pacific

This project comprises 697 self-contained student rooms across two 18 storey towers with extensive student commons located in a separate central hub on Level 06.

The client brief for the project was to provide self-contained student accommodation within the confines of a small floor plate whilst ensuring the common areas offered an extension of student life to encourage social interaction and a shared experience of life on campus.

The student commons were designed to activate student learning and a sense of community within a vibrant and welcoming environment filled with natural light.
Each zone is defined by a series of feature pods within the larger built form, with each pod offering a defined used experience.

The main student lounge features a timber fireplace pod that anchors the space and creates a sense of congregation and comfort. Colour was an integral part of the overarching design, with a fractured lineal aesthetic. The directional floor finishes enhance wayfinding and zones are further defined through changes in colour, texture and finish.

The kitchen pod offers an extensive shared food experience to ensure students can gather and socialise at meal times. A sense of community is critical in a student residential environment to ensure the residents feel included and involved within a larger community. Careful attention was also paid to any residents with accessibility challenges to ensure they can also feel fully welcomed and included in all aspects of student life. The kitchen area offers a lowered prep counter and modified oven to ensure ease of use.

The multiple study pods are defined through geometric feature elements of paint, acoustic panelling and upholstery to add interest and vibrance to an otherwise pared back neutral base palette. The space also includes a music room with acoustic wall treatments and a private study zone with defined study pods. Colourful banquette seating lines the perimeter of the central courtyard that feature an outdoor BBQ area.

The lift overrun was a design challenge that was resolved through a tiered break-out zone finished in stained strandboard. Materials were selected for their cost efficiencies without compromising on performance or aesthetic. This project showcases how a tight budget need not encroach on a strong design outcome.

The use of colour extends into the student accommodation corridors with each level reflecting 1 of 3 colour palettes to assist in way-finding and recognition. Overall the use of colour through this project has lifted it from a restrained neutrality to a more dynamic user experience as one moves through and experiences the building as a whole.