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New student hub is a finalist in the NZ Interior Awards

The University of Canterbury’s new student hub is a finalist in the New Zealand Interior Awards.

The University’s Undercroft student area was an old bike shed before the earthquakes but the refit of the large area has seen the Undercroft become a social centre for students with a food court, selection of cafes and retail outlets, as well as areas to relax in.

The project, designed by Warren and Mahoney, will go before the awards jury on May 21 and 22. Eighteen projects and three emerging design professionals have been selected as finalists and will compete for one supreme award, seven category awards and $7000 prize money. The winners will be announced at an event in Auckland on June 26.

University of Canterbury Director of Learning Resources, Alex Hanlon, says the project was critical to reinstating student spaces in the heart of the campus.

``That we were able to rehabilitate a tired old bike shed into a buzzing energetic student hub was the real success of the project.

`` Warren and Mahoney literally brought light and life back into the dark recesses of the James Hight building and reinvented the space. As we continue to grow and recover, the Undercroft is the heart and soul in the centre of campus,’’ Hanlon says.

Warren and Mahoney associate Iain Nicholls says the James Hight Undercroft project revitalised the central hub of the James Hight building by producing a sophisticated student lounge.

``It is now a warm enclave full of student life, with brightly coloured furniture allowing a range of activities from quiet study and lunchtime eating to the more energetic communal and social activities of student life. Political meetings, fashion shows and University of Canterbury Students’ Association balls in the Undercroft all contribute to a rich and varied student life,’’ Nicholls says.


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