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Student hub wins NZ Interior Award

University of Canterbury’s student hub wins NZ Interior Award

June 27, 2014

The University of Canterbury’s new student hub has won its category in the 2014 New Zealand Interior Awards.

The University’s Undercroft student area in the James Hight building was a large bike shed before the earthquakes but the refit of the 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, converted a mostly forgotten and under-used brutalist basement to a vibrant student area.

Judges said the fact this was achieved under intense time and seismic pressures speaks not just of design integrity, but of collaboration between many communities for the purpose of creating a welcoming shelter for students.

According to the judges the project serves as ``a testament to the vibrancy and collaboration that can fuel, and seems to be driving the Christchurch reconstruction’’.

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

``I am delighted that there has been this recognition of the good work completed under trying circumstances by the university and the Warren and Mahoney team. I warmly thank the entire team and congratulate Warren and Mahoney in particular for their design vision.

``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.

The Undercroft 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 for Canterbury students.


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