The Law is founded on tradition, but Waikato University’s new Law and Management School is anything but traditional. With clean lines and a sleek modern design, the $28 million new building is both a stimulating learning environment and a fitting gateway for the University’s Hamilton campus.
Twenty-five years in the making, the new building provides the first permanent home for Te Piringa: Faculty of Law. Designed by Opus Architecture, the new building has a five-storey office tower and rooms at below-ground level, with a feature ‘living lawn’ roof. The tower features vertical sunshade vanes to symbolise the tukutuku reed panels of a traditional meeting house, natural ventilation, and glazed corridor walls for natural lighting. Constructed using steel, glass and concrete precast panels, the facility houses teaching spaces, offices, a boardroom, computer labs, student services and reception areas, as well as a moot courtroom.
The 6,000 m² facility is an extension to the existing management school faculty building, and was designed as three separate structures connected by expansion joints: podium building, tower and new MSB building. The living green roof links the three buildings together, creating an outside space where students can circulate and relax.
The building’s modern and unique design is timeless and has set a high standard for future development.
- The building’s location in the centre of an operational university – and with classes underway in the adjacent management school - required a careful construction approach to minimise disruption to students and staff.
- The outside façade is made of 80 lightweight precast pumice panels – which are just 60% of the weight of standard precast panels. Fletcher worked with Opus to determine an appropriate means of fastening the panels to the building.
- The apparent simplicity of the design belies the complexity its construction, and achieving the characteristic clean lines required a very high level of precision. The impressive areas of exposed concrete walls and floors required significant effort to ensure that the desired architectural effects were realised.
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