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Another award for Matapihi ki te Ao

Another award for Matapihi ki te Ao

The new Matapihi ki te Ao campus that houses Whanganui UCOL has taken three more top awards, this time for architecture.

The campus, officially opened by the Prime Minister Helen Clark in April this year, took first place in three categories in the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ regional Western Architecture Awards.

The campus won the top awards for Public Architecture, Interior Architecture and Urban Design. The awards were accepted by the architects Bruce Dickson, from Dickson Lonergan Wanganui, and Brian Elliott, from Designgroup, joined by Project Manager Paul Booth of Lockwood Naylor Ltd and UCOL’s Project Director Jule Einhorn.

The wins in the regional awards mean that the campus will be a finalist in those categories in the institute’s national awards, to be announced in May next year.
The Matapihi ki te Ao campus is also in the finals for the Registered Master Builders national awards, to be announced next month. The campus took Gold in the commercial educational category in the Wanganui Regional Master Builders Awards in August. The award recognised excellence in three key elements; design, contract management, and construction.
The citation for the Public Architecture award noted that UCOL policy is to encourage students to relate to the community. “The main entry is marked by a delicate wind structure which announces the campus and delineates the pedestrian/entry courtyard. The large open area provides a welcome opportunity for users to meet and interact upon arrival,” the citation said.

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“Access and circulation within the site is handled with a new internal pedestrian street which provides weather protected linkages between and around buildings, to the street frontage and internal spaces.

“This was no simple task, given the variety of type, arrangement and level of the existing buildings. However the spacious corridor provides the opportunity for a rich and vibrant interaction of all users and is a key element in the project.”

The citation for Urban Design said the rejuvenation of the city block occupied by the campus clearly enhances the fabric of Wanganui. “Carefully arranged facades both acknowledge and enhance existing streetscapes. It responds to the District Plan requirements to manage development and redevelopment in a way that ensures appropriate design, materials and scale of structures with the physical and visual characteristics of the zone.”

The citation for the Interior Design award notes that building project types ranged from heritage, alteration, renewal and new structure.

“Each has required different approaches and solutions yet a cohesive interior experience has been achieved and maintained throughout. Mahogany paneling, exposed concrete tilt panel, steep structure, strand board and pine joinery were all used, expressed and revealed.

“Excellent use is made of space, light, material and texture. This project provides a benchmark for tertiary education facilities and one of which the architects, clients, users and community can be proud,” the citation said.


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