This project strengthens the University of Auckland masterplan of creating a student precinct on Whitaker Place. Waipārūrū Hall challenges the norm for student accommodation. Catered for Gen Z and the future Gen Alpha students, the project creates an environment that fosters learning, is an incubator for talent, humanistic value and balance, and encourages a culture of diversity and inclusiveness – beyond just a place to sleep.
Project Name -Waipārūrū Hall
Studio Name -Warren and Mahoney
Completion date– 2020
Location– Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Photography– Sam Hartnett
786 student rooms are accommodated in two towers connected at the base by a Podium – the ‘Learning Landscape’. The design of this communal space is on the notion ‘LIVE, LEARN, EAT’ influenced by pedagogy, workplace and hospitality design.
The building form embraces these concepts with its sweeping forms connecting back to the city and its outreach to the Auckland Domain and Waitemata Harbour. Maximising the long and narrow site the highly transparent podium level provides a visual connection to the surrounding landscape, while the towers above are spoilt with panoramic views over Grafton Gully and beyond.
Monochromatic with an urban reference, materials remain authentic in nature, while the use of texture and light cleverly adds contrast in the environment. The raw structure of the building is celebrated and embraced, as are the building services. The main entry Plaza extends the streetscape into the interior with its use of raw and polished concrete and an expanded mesh halo over the reception desk. The Podium is anchored by the vibrant Atrium stair, connecting the entry Plaza to the double height Atrium space and the study spaces to the dining experiences below.
A High Street at podium level provides connection to study spaces and casual dining on the fringes. Spaces are designed for the student experience and cater to a diverse range of uses. Furniture is flexible and can be adapted to suit evolving student needs. Private study booths, open collaboration, interactive areas with or without technology and places to pause are all readily available. Seclusion can be sought deeper into the floor plate, where the built spaces reside; or the Fringe offers inviting soft seating bathed in natural light as a tranquil space to relax or focus.
Vibrant bespoke graphic elements that reference the surrounding urban landscape inject life and energy to the core building functions as well as acting as simple wayfinding cues. Contour-inspired graphic overlays to the glazed elements shield users from distraction, without being overwhelming. Common areas with saturated colours palettes on each accommodation level act as the social hubs and foster a sense of community.