The confluence of learning

General News

Sep 10, 2018

The official opening of AUT’s new Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences building brought together the industry team that helped create it, and the university staff and students who will bring it to life.

Guests at the event included the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Jacinda Adern, who specially thanked the project team, subcontractors and consultants for their work.  

Fletcher was engaged in 2015 to turn into reality the bold and innovative design by architecture and design company, Jasmax.  The new building has been named Ngā Wai Hono which translates as the coming together of water or springs—a name of significance, as during construction the team found springs under the building site.

 “Learning can, and does, happen anywhere,” said AUT Vice-Chancellor Derek McCormack, in his speech of welcome at the opening. The 12-level central city build certainly reflects this, with flexible working spaces that promote collaboration.  

 Learning can, and does, happen anywhere.

“Learning spaces are not about gleaming surfaces and fancy technology,” Vice-Chancellor McCormack said. “We have plenty of that, yes, but what matters is what faculty and students actually do in these spaces and that is what has driven the design of this building."

Not only does Ngā Wai Hono add something special to Auckland’s cityscape but the building itself is an educational tool, with its internal structure and services on display allowing students to understand how the systems and building management technologies perform under different environmental conditions.

Ngā Wai Hono has several specialised labs, workshop spaces and lecture theatres. Level three contains a robotics lab, and an internal truck dock with a gantry crane that can transport large loads horizontally through the building and between floor levels through another small internal atrium. It’s also packed with energy-saving innovations such as digital ceilings, where each light point can be individually addressed, and a geothermal heat pump system.

An interesting element to the building’s design is the main atrium which doubles as the main access core to the building, with a staircase running from levels one to 12.

Besides delivering natural light to the core of the building, the main atrium also operates as the main smoke extract for the building. There are four oversized fan units at roof level that can be controlled by the fire brigade in the event of an emergency, to extract smoke from every floor through the roof, at the push of a button.

Two 1200mm to 800mm post tensioned concrete raft floor slabs—which are completely separated from the main structure—can be used for destruction testing of the structural building elements and even earthquake simulation.

Ngā Wai Hono is 18,000m3, contains 10,000 tonnes of steel and 10,000 tonnes of concrete.

Project consultants: Jasmax, Beca, Rider Levett Bucknall, Hargrave, WSP Opus