The influence of the designed environment on behaviour, productivity and engagement has long been acknowledged. Workplaces and educational institutes are increasingly shunning the traditional classroom and office structure in favour of vibrant, flexible working and learning spaces, with the aim of fostering creativity and collaboration.
Recognising the link between creative spaces and creative thinking, Auckland University of Technology sought a thoroughly modern education facility when they engaged Fletcher to deliver the new $81 million Engineering, Design and Technology school under an Early Contractor Involvement contract model.
The new complex comprises a 12-storey tower on Auckland’s Symonds Street, housing classrooms, lecture theatres and research space, alongside a podium and training workshop. Designed by Jasmax, the tower will feature distinctive “fins” us – as seen on the ASB Building at North Wharf and the Sir Paul Reeves Building at AUT (also delivered by Fletcher). The workshop is designed to be a live learning environment with high strength concrete walls where students can practice concrete testing and post tensioned concrete floors. Buildings as real-life teaching aids is a growing trend in tertiary buildings - Fletcher delivered a similar interactive learning environment for the Engineering and Trades School at Wintec in 2014.
Construction works started in December 2015 with the demolition of an existing carpark to make space for the new tower. All works must be planned carefully to minimise disruption to traffic, neighbouring properties and of course tertiary students themselves.
The team is utilising lean construction principles to maximise efficiency on the highly constrained site in Auckland’s CBD. Building Information Modelling is a key aspect of the lean construction approach. The new school is due to open in December 2017.