Once a 16 unit, 2 storey accommodation block and until recently, housing 1-2 staff per unit, this building provided a fragmented, un-collaborative work environment (contrary to the values of Te Wananga o Aotearoa)
With Te Wananga o Aotearoa’s environmentally conscientious approach to their buildings and use, one of their most significant green choices was to reuse the existing structure and renovate. With that consideration and APG Architects’ confidence that a successful result could be achieved, the decision was made to renovate.
The original minimalist styled block building exterior was stripped and re-dressed to relate better to its modern neighbours. Angled covered ways were added as were cedar louvres and eaves extended. A cantilevering first floor meeting space pod was used to break an otherwise bland rear elevation.
Internally, all spaces were linked by removing the central portions of the above dividing block walls and re-strengthening each opening. At the central timeout area, the first floor was removed to give volume to the low-ceiling ground floor space and to visually connect both levels.
Care was taken to express both the new and existing structured elements; new columns were left natural finished, steel exposed and scars to existing blockwork left visible. Discrete servicing of the building was carefully considered. A natural soft palette was chosen to make this a welcoming environment that staff would enjoy and use.