The Health and Science Centre at Waiariki Institute of Technology's Mokoia Campus in Rotorua, designed by Darryl Church of Darryl Church Architecture in association with MOAA Architects, was awarded 2015's best architectural design at a grand gala ceremony, held in Christchurch on Friday 30 October.
The inspired design of the Health and Science Centre is what led the winning designers to victory amongst tough competition. Embracing a move from static classroom cell delivery, the new Centre promotes an interactive, student-centric model of learning.
Kathryn Bloor, Facilities Manager at Waiariki Institute of Technology, said most nursing and health qualifications were previously taught in prefabricated buildings that didn't provide for the needs of the students or staff.
"Darryl Church Architecture and MOAA Architects have influenced the way our students learn by introducing a more holistic work environment. In the time the building has been open, there has been a significant increase in the number of students spending more time on campus and studying in the common areas. This is a fantastic result and the Centre has been a great addition to Waiariki Institute of Technology," says Bloor.
Before construction even began, 12 months of research, workshops and design went into the creation of the Centre - to ensure it would meet the needs of the Bachelor of Nursing and Health programme and its student body of more than 400.
The design includes teaching areas, classrooms and common spaces which are visually connected through glass walls. To avoid a static learning environment, moveable glass walls allow teaching rooms to be adapted to accommodate class sizes and students are free to observe each other learning, studying and communicating from every point of the building.
In addition to glass learning spaces, Darryl Church Architecture and MOAA Architects integrated soothing New Zealand timbers and green hued surfaces which contribute to an enhanced learning environment. Research into colour psychology has shown that green hues improve the ability to read, have a calming effect, and the power to relieve stress.
Judges of the 2015 ADNZ | Resene Architectural Design Awards said that the project recognises a specific cultural environment and the shifting educational emphases within it.
"There is a demonstration of an ambition to bring unity to the diverse campus through strength of form. This is a stage that presents an embodied sense of drama set up through careful design that extends from concept to realisation in built detail."