New nurses teaching facility with glass-walled adaptable classrooms

Multi-purpose, transparent classrooms ensure the Health and Science Centre, Waiariki Institute of Technology, makes the best use of available space and empowers students

:Green mesh and patterned, pigmented green concrete envelope architecture, campus, cloud, corporate headquarters, daytime, estate, facade, grass, headquarters, home, house, property, real estate, sky, blue
:Green mesh and patterned, pigmented green concrete envelope the new Health and Science Centre at the Waiariki Institute of Technology, Rotorua.

Seated in rows, facing the front, fidgeting when no-one's looking this is the tired, space-hungry model of classrooms past. The future of learning, however, looks lighter on its feet more adaptable, peer-focussed, and teaching-effective.

The Health and Science Centre is a striking new building on Rotorua's Waiariki Institute of Technology campus. The three-level facility that houses the Faculty of Health Education and Humanities is an is an early cornerstone of a planned pedestrian boulevard that will reorganise the campus.

However, the highly researched and highly contemporary building, designed by Darryl Church Architecture in association with MOAA Architects, is also forward-looking in more fundamental ways.

The trend seen here is to move away from a didactic and static classroom cell delivery to an interactive, student centric, self-tailored model of learning, says Church.

This patterned, green-pigmented concrete cladding on the new architecture, building, daylighting, door, facade, glass, green, house, line, structure, wall, window, window covering, wood, gray, green
This patterned, green-pigmented concrete cladding on the new Health and Science Centre at the Waiariki Institute of Technology is by Stresscrete

"Most teaching spaces in the centre are transparent, with operable glass walls that can pull back to turn two classrooms into one larger gathering space, for example. Their see-through nature means students can watch other students learning.

This is a positive model in two ways students are inclined to stay on task when they know others are looking on. And, in turn, the onlookers are energised by seeing their peers in full learning mode."

But the Health and Science Centre's versatility goes beyond reconfigurable classroom walls. Everything was considered with the future in mind.

"The institute initially wanted the lecture hall to be an auditorium with stepped seating, but we suggested a flat-floored venue would be more versatile potentially used for functions and other performances as well as for speakers," says Church.

Most classrooms at the new Health and Science classroom, conference hall, furniture, institution, interior design, office, table, brown
Most classrooms at the new Health and Science Centre in Rotorua have exposed services.

"And there may be a time where the building is put to other uses. With this in mind, laboratories have their services linked in around the perimeters, rather than to static benches through the room, so they can easily be repurposed down the line."

With almost every space, even specialist areas, designed to be flexible, the architects also found room to introduce large social learning commons, where students could pursue non-classroom aspects of their courses, such as study or reading.

The dynamic learning centre is covered in a vibrant fae§ade of glass with a green mesh overlay and patterned, green-pigmented concrete. The calming effects of green are well documented while the colour and patterning also reference the huge forest plantations in the vicinity.

Credit list

Health and Science Centre,
Hawkins Construction
Mechanical and electrical engineer
E Cubed Building Workshop
Hickeys Contractors
Fire consultant
Dimond DP955
Glazing system
APL 135 Flushglaze
Balconies and balustrades
Composition and Cube, supplied by Autex Industries; plasterboard by Gib Systems; Macrocarpa t&g panelling
Peakform, Vector edge
ADNZ/Resene Supreme Design Award
Architecture firms
Darryl Church Architecture, lead architectural designer Darryl Church; in association with MOAA Architects, lead architect Tim Horne
Structural and civil engineer
Quantity surveyors
Kingstons and Partners
Hawkins, Urban Green
Precast concrete panels from Stresscrete, oxide pigments by Peter Fell and Xypex waterproof additives
Shaw carpet tiles, Tarkett vinyl, and ceramic tiling, supplied by Jacobsens; American white oak, from Rosenfield Kidson
Resene Systems
Heating and air conditioning
Aquavent Mechanical Contractors, Mitsubishi Systems

Story by: Charles Moxham

Photography by: Graeme Murray

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