Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology was born out of the merger of two institutions Bay of Plenty Polytechnic and Waiariki Institute of Technology. The two combined in 2016 to better meet the region's education needs, with the resulting new institute spread over five main campuses Rotorua, Taupo, Tauranga, Tokoroa, and Whakatane. Te Ara o Mauao facility, designed by Chow Hill Architects, is a recent addition to Tauranga's Windermere campus and forms part of a wider Creative Arts and Applied Technology Precinct.
The facility is comprised of 3500m² of modern, interdisciplinary tertiary learning space dedicated to Art & Design, Music & Radio, Applied and General Learning Technologies for around 700 students.
The clean-lined, multi-faceted building has a strong presence on the campus, and is clad in long-life, low-maintenance materials that accentuate its dynamic architecture. These include concrete panelling with rough sawn patterning, Dimond Colorsteel Endura profile metal cladding and an external steel coating system.
Project architect Jane Hill says the concept for the building's look was to an extent an unwrapping, with the solid louvres signalling the entrance and showing through to the inner cedar cladding.
"These were practical choices, too," Hill says. "The concrete panels provided acoustic mass for the music spaces behind, while the cedar acts to both soften and connect to the look of the concrete. These materials also continue into the interior to draw you into the building."