Award for Architects

November 12, 2012

Paris Magdalinos Architects continues to notch up accolades in the Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay regional architecture awards, this time for the redevelopment project of the Faculty of Te Manga Maori at EIT’s Hawke’s Bay campus.

Paris Magdalinos Architects (PMA) has now amassed over 60 regional titles, and senior architect Ezra Kelly says the latest award for the new stage of the redeveloped Te Manga Maori facility is special because of its “cultural importance” and the creation of a “spiritual gateway” to the campus.

The building won the education category at the Gisborne-Hawke’s Bay Architecture Awards with the judges’ panel stating ‘the project expresses the concepts of entrance and procession with conviction, strength and elegance’.

“To win an award for the first stage of the overall Te Manga Maori project is fantastic and makes a statement for the importance of the learning facility.

“The initial concept was that of a whare waka, with the waka as a symbol of the learning journey.  This symbolism was further developed by Te Manga Maori staff, resulting in a name change to ‘The School of Maori Studies Te Uranga Waka’ or the landing place of canoes,” Mr Kelly said.

The building, which was completed and officially opened in July, serves as a functional educational facility and its architecture responds to Te Marae o Te Whare – the cultural focal point for the campus.

Mr Kelly says the sense of waka is expressed in the form of the building and in the flooring and lighting track in the main foyer.  

A key driver of the design was the site’s prominent position, fronting Gloucester Street.  EIT’s brief was for a symbolic gateway to the campus.

The main entry to the building is a canopy (waharoa) which opens onto Te Uranga Waka and the central courtyard beyond.

“The language and materiality could perhaps be described as Aotearoa –Tech with a combination of glu-lam and rough sawn timber, stainless steel cables, expressed structural connections and exposed mechanical services,” Mr Kelly said.

The 300m2 building area provides administration offices, meeting areas, research space and a main entry foyer/art gallery.

Linking this to the remainder of the existing complex is a covered deck that includes a refurbished and strengthened prefab toilet block that was integrated into the overall project.

EIT’s capital planner Dick Hilton said it was important that the facility had a point of difference and a unique identity on campus.

“Its form, colours and materials relate to Maori architecture, but the language is contemporary and its features are specific to its use.”  

The building provides space for future displays of artworks and it will form the hub for an overall development supporting a range of uses and faculties, he added.

Mr Kelly praised the professionalism and adherence to high building standards that the main contractor Gemco Construction brought to the project. It was a pleasure working with the Gemco team and subcontractors to achieve this award winning iconic project he said.

The award win is a continuation of the successful partnership between EIT and Paris Magdalinos Architects over the past two decades.

Last year PMA won an award for Public Architecture and Sustainable Architecture for the EIT Trades and Technology Centre.

EIT chief executive Chris Collins said the client-architect partnership was focused on creating well-designed buildings that promoted quality learning.

“There is a strong emphasis on designing stimulating and engaging learning environments, and PMA had a good understanding of what we are trying to achieve in the context of the overall campus.”