The construction of this 6000sqm 5-storey building - Te Piringa - marks the 50th anniversary of the university. The new building will provide teaching rooms, offices, dedicated spaces for postgraduate students, shared student services, shared computer labs, a reception area and a ceremonial space for meetings with university visitors.
We were challenged to design an iconic building with the latest technology that would create a new gateway into the existing campus grounds. Particular challenges were uniformity of colour and vertical alignment of the pattern – in addition the sizes of the concrete panels had to be adjusted to floor heights to unify the design.
It will also include a fully functional moot courtroom, and a sunken courtyard which connects to the existing management building at lower ground level.
University buildings are vehicles for innovative and creative thinking, are a social hub providing a platform toshowcase culture and collaborative thinking whilst creating a point of difference for the University to attract future students. The task was to create an iconic landmark building for the University of Waikato’s “Te Piringa -Faculty of Law” providing high quality teaching spaces and faculty accommodation with cutting edge technology, optimum connectivity and adaptability.
It was essential that it integrated cultural design and acknowledged the contribution of Maori Pedagogy whilst providing a visible identity for the Law Faculty, creating a new gateway entrance for the University. Adaptability of the teaching facilities was a critical feature - maximizing space utilisation and flexibility, with shared teaching spaces able to be used for more than one purpose.
The outside areas utilised by students needed to be retained and enriched with floor levels that aligned with the wider campus.
Light weight precast concrete panels for the façade reduce the weight and also create a modern face, portraying solidity, strength and permanence. Concrete was also chosen because of its maintenance free properties.
The architecturally striking solid tower with its modern and unique design provides a visible identity for the Law Faculty,and a gateway entrance for the University of Waikato. The building is already attracting significant attention for the University of Waikato overseas, and has won an NZIA architectural award.
This project was Highly Commended at 21st AAA Unbuilt Architecture Awards in Auckland in November 2012.