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Business School shortlisted for Award

Media Release
31 July 2008

Business School shortlisted for World Architecture Festival Award

The University of Auckland Business School has been shortlisted in the Learning category of the World Architecture Festival Awards.

The Business School, in Grafton Road, was formally opened in February this year, when the last stage of the integration of the School’s physically scattered disciplines, departments and activities were brought under one roof.

The building provides a leading-edge venue, with facilities and technologies that contribute significantly to interaction, interconnectedness and the provision of extraordinary learning opportunities for students and staff. It also represents a very high level of engagement with the business community.

“It is a magnificent achievement in which many people have played a part – from our donors to partners, to the government and University,” says the former Dean, Professor Barry Spicer.

Professor Spicer led a vigorous fundraising campaign over a number of years. In 2002, under his Deanship, the School’s Business and Development Plan won New Zealand’s first Partnership for Excellence with government, securing a commitment from Cabinet of $25 million in matching funds.

The building and teaching complex were designed by the trans-Tasman team FJMT+archimedia comprising Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT) from Sydney and Archimedia from Auckland. The team won the international competition run by the Business School to select a design.

“It is an excellent result to be shortlisted for this eminent world architect award. Let’s hope for the best in the next round,” said Mr Francis-Jones.

“Our inspiration was drawn from the fusion of natural landscape, urban form and heritage of cultural exchange and flow that characterise this beautiful site at the edge of the campus, overlooking the Waitemata Harbour and the Auckland Domain. The fluid and open architectural expression provides a strong contemporary counterpoint to the traditional insular European buildings that characterised the beginnings of the University,” Mr Francis-Jones says.

The first annual World Architecture Festival Awards, for buildings completed between 1 January 2007 and 20 June 2008, attracted over 700 entries from 63 countries.

The Business School is one of 16 projects shortlisted for the Learning category. The winner will be announced in October at the Barcelona Festival, where Mr Francis-Jones will give a presentation on the building and teaching complex. Category winners will compete in front of a super-jury to become the World Building of the Year 2008.

The judging panels are headed by Lord (Norman) Foster, and comprise well known international architects, allied professionals, clients and critics. The Awards are an opportunity for peer review by some of the most distinguished professionals in the world.


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