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University of Auckland Lab Wins International Design Award

Press Release – Tuesday 2 September 2014
Immediate Release

University of Auckland – New Chemistry Laboratory Wins International Design Award

The University of Auckland has received international recognition for the design of its new Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories. Winning the Refurbished Laboratory category at the prestigious S-Lab Awards in London.

Designed by specialist laboratory architects Lab-works Architecture, in association with Architectus and BECA, the award is further recognition of New Zealand based design, products, and innovation.

The S-Lab awards scheme highlights laboratory innovation around the globe, where all aspects of laboratory design are taken into account. Not only the architectural and functional aspects, but also how the design responds to environmental considerations, materials, energy use, and long term sustainability.

S-Lab Director Peter James comments, “The result is better research and teaching, more cost-effective operation - which can create more resource for actual science - and reduced environmental impact.”

Speaking from Kings College in London, University of Auckland, Deputy Dean Faculty of Science, Jim Metson and Lab-works Director Ken Collins, are delighted to be receiving the award on behalf of the project team.

“It is fabulous to be recognised in this way,” says Ken Collins. “A lot of hard work went into making this a world class facility. It is a tribute to the excellent collaboration between the university project team and the design team to bring this project to fruition. The facility is a real asset to the university and to our future scientists”.

“The lab had to address quite a wide range of criteria in terms of its efficiency, in terms of its safety, and those features I think we’ve managed to get and more into this laboratory environment”, adds Jim Metson, who is also the Chief Science Advisor to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

This award recognises how well these aspects have been able to be achieved in the refurbishment of the existing 303 Building. Covering 1,750m2 and housing up to 208 students at a time, the new facilities provide a modern learning environment within a structurally constrained 1960’s building, where there is an emphasis on safety, adaptability, and sustainability.

Laboratory Manager David Weir also comments “Beyond the safety features the other aspect that really stands out to me is the aesthetic of the lab, which is beautiful. It’s very light, lots of white, really adds to the visual nature of the space…... very streamlined……. and really adds to the learning experience that the students have”.

This award is certainly an endorsement of New Zealand design and innovation. The design team is based in Auckland and Wellington, while the innovative fume cupboard design and manufacture was by Porirua based Thermoplastic Engineering.

For Lab-works Architecture this is their second S-Lab award, following their success with a laboratory refurbishment project at Scion in Rotorua, last year. “We know that there is the knowledge and expertise in New Zealand to create world leading laboratories. It’s good for this to be recognised internationally, and be benchmarked against overseas projects”, says Collins.

University of Auckland Chemistry Undergraduate Teaching Laboratories in use by students and tutors –
Winner of the S-Lab Refurbished Laboratory Award


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