AUT building wins NZ Architecture award

20 Nov, 2019
 
WZ building foyer and stairs
Images: Jason Mann

AUT’s WZ Building - Ngā Wai Hono, has won the Education Award at the 2019 New Zealand Architecture Awards announced last week.

Building project leaders and designers, Jasmax received the award. ‘AUT’s aspiration was for a game-changing new environment with the building being a hands-on learning and research tool for students of Engineering and Computer and Mathematical Sciences (ECMS). It is designed to facilitate cross-pollination and as an enabler for world class research,’ according to Jasmax.

The NZIA’s jury said, “This complex building expresses AUT’s determination to maximise the potential of a tight and convoluted urban site by successfully combining insertion with integration. The ECMS building gives AUT a definite presence on Symonds St and achieves a welcome generosity via the impressive, light-filled common space of a 12-levelled atrium…the purpose of the building as a contemporary high-tech teaching and research facility has been commendably achieved.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern officially opened Nḡa Wai Hono in August last year.

At 18,000m² over 12 storeys, Ngā Wai Hono was built with a strong focus on sustainability and it represents a new way of teaching and learning. The building itself is a teaching tool and students can test the theory they learn in classrooms on the building itself. Rainwater is collected from the roofs for use in labs and solar fins outside ensure there is enough light while excluding heat from the afternoon sun. The lighting systems have occupancy sensors so rooms and spaces are only lit when necessary. There is also a ground source heat pump which extracts heat from the ground to warm an area or directs heat into the ground to cool a space.

With the absence of ceiling linings, students are also able to observe how the design of the structural elements and services are interlinked, making the building a 3D learning tool.

​The building's te reo name - Ngā Wai Hono. Roughly translated to "the confluence" the idea of connectedness depicts the merging and welling-up of water sources - akin to the comingling and flow of knowledge that students will share with the world. The name also references the historic wells that were discovered during WZ's construction phase.

The Ted McCoy Award for Education is a major award at the awards organised by the Te Kāhui Whaihanga NZ Institute of Architects (NZIA).

Congratulations to the team from Jasmax and all the AUT staff who worked on the project.

Read more about the building