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Mit Final Simon Devitt July 2014 12

“The design blurs public space and internal domains to express openness and informality – an invitation to the community to freely enter, a neutral framework that will be filled by the life of MIT and its surrounding community."

Blair Johnston


In a New Zealand design first, the new Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) campus integrates a teaching and study facility with an Auckland Transport railway station – a strategic initiative to increase the accessibility of tertiary learning in South Auckland.

The Warren and Mahoney design for the 19,427m²  [1] building in Manukau, which opened Friday 20 June 2014, features a seven level building, with floors circling a soaring six storey public atrium space. The basement floor opens into a rail platform, with a direct line connecting to the Auckland city centre.

Blair Johnston, lead design architect for MIT and Executive Director of Warren and Mahoney, says the train station entrance within the building itself is an opportunity to increase public participation in tertiary education – “bringing commuters into the heart of MIT and exposing its programmes to the widest possible audience.”

The ground floor is intended as public space; for commuters to freely enter and cross on their way to the train line, with retail spaces and cafes provided around the exterior of the building. With the addition of the bus interchange in the future, the complex is envisioned as the second largest rail transport hub in New Zealand.

Says Johnston: “The design blurs public space and internal domains to express openness and informality – an invitation to the community to freely enter, a neutral framework that will be filled by the life of MIT and its surrounding community.

“The ambition is for this space to become embedded in the ‘mental map’ of people in the Manukau CBD and beyond. The building is designed to be a cultural destination – a centre for meeting, events and arts, a platform of transportation, and a place where the possibilities of learning are discovered.”

During the design process, MIT and Warren and Mahoney worked in partnership with Auckland Council and Auckland Transport, and in consultation with representatives from Maori, Pasifika, and local communities, MIT staff and students.

Dr Peter Brothers, Chief Executive of MIT, says the goal was to break down the “the geographical, societal, and personal barriers between institution and community.”

“We want to show the people of Manukau the reality of study, to enable access to vocational education that will lead to better work, and a better life.”

“Weaving the train station, bus interchange and education institution together is our way of welcoming people into the space, encouraging people to look around and interact with the building without barriers. If the travelling public can see members of their own community studying, it’s a daily reminder that this education is a real, accessible possibility for them too.”

“It’s important that we’re not in an ivory tower; we want to be woven into the community. If people see it as their space, rather than MIT’s building, then the project will be a success,” says Brothers.


  • Public access: The ground floor is public space – the life and activity of the students and public is clearly visible from the outside. This visual open­ness also supports engagement with the community, creating a welcom­ing destination.
  • Sustainability: The building is a 5 green star project. The design employed new initiatives, technologies and materials to create a low carbon footprint.
  • External columns: To create an open and unobstructed interior, the building’s columns are external: 5 storey ‘diamond brace’ columns, steel beam lines, horizontal sun shading and different styles of glazing. The layout creating a complex, repeating pattern that is evocative of not one, but many cultures and points of view
  • Open interior: The heart of the building is its soaring six storey atrium – a significant spatial device which integrates the desire for open, connected, flexible floor plans; with the technical and structural challenges of building over a rail trench.
  • Learning spaces: The interior is flexible, to adapt to continual changes to learning and education over the next decades. The design revolves around the ‘flipped classroom’ concept – making space suit student interaction and engagement, rather than a traditional lecturer-orientated format.
  • Adaptable spaces: The architecture provides a neutral framework (“the coathanger”) that will be filled by the life of MIT and its surrounding community (“the clothes”). The visual identity of the building is adaptable, flexible and representative of a diverse community.
  • Train station: Pedestrians enter the station at ground level through a double height main entrance lobby, signposted with an electronic departures board. A full-height glazed screen provides access to each platform, and significantly reduces noise between levels.
  • Materials: A palette of stone, timber, glass, steel, with natural and durable high quality surface finishes. The materials take direct cultural references and craft patterns.

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“We are very pleased to welcome Richard to our board. He has extensive experience across key sectors such as tourism, transport and infrastructure and urban design and with organisations that are fast evolving and dynamic.”

John Coop

Warren and Mahoney Limited has announced the appointment of Richard Leggat as an independent director to the practice’s board of directors effective January 2018. The announcement represents an increase in the size of the board from seven to eight directors, with Richard Leggat joining Anne Blackburn as its second independent director. 

Warren and Mahoney’s Chair, John Coop says that as the international architectural design practice continues to grow, it’s important to bolster the diversity of perspectives that help govern the business.

“We are very pleased to welcome Richard to our board. He has extensive experience across key sectors such as tourism, transport and infrastructure and urban design and with organisations that are fast evolving and dynamic.”

“We have benefitted from Anne’s independent perspective for several years, and now in addition look forward to Richard’s expertise and insight as we continue to evolve,” said Coop.

Founded in 1955, the practice today employs almost 300 staff across seven integrated studios: Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Christchurch, Queenstown, Sydney and Melbourne.

Richard Leggat has been a full time director for the past six years with positions on a number of government and sporting organisations including Tourism New Zealand, Education New Zealand, NZ Post, Panuku Development Auckland, Chair of the NZ Cycle Trail, Director of Cycling and Director of Snow Sports NZ.

“Richard’s directorships have reach and presence across New Zealand, giving him insight into key national issues, as well as an understanding of the priorities and objectives of central and local government,” says Coop.

Born and raised in Christchurch, Richard says he grew up surrounded by Warren and Mahoney projects, and is looking forward to deeper involvement with the business as it is today.  

“Warren and Mahoney is a successful business with a great heritage. My experience with Panuku has shown me the importance of the built environment, how it affects people, and enhances the community and people’s lives.                                                      

“I look forward to using the insights I’ve learned from different sectors to help Warren and Mahoney make good decisions that lead to celebrated outcomes that staff are proud of and the community benefits from,” says Leggat.

Warrenand Mahoney Christmas2017 Red Nobutton

As is tradition at Warren and Mahoney, our creative teams have banded together to create our annual Christmas greeting. 

Please click here to view.

We wish you and your loved ones a safe and happy festive season.

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Gavin is borderless in his outlook, globally aware and very well placed to serve our clients’ interests both locally, in Australia and further afield internationally.”

John Coop

Warren and Mahoney has appointed former global head of civic and events at Woods Bagot, Gavin Kain, as Principal, fortifying the talented line up of the international team.

Kain’s specialist skills in mixed-use precincts and large-scale projects will see the practice continue to expand its presence in Australasia with a ‘one studio’ approach.

“The time is right to embrace the dissolution of borders through technology and strong, global networks,” says Kain. “Australian and New Zealand architectural studios are highly regarded across the world for our innovation and empathy, and our current remit includes a strong foundation of projects that demonstrate our skills spanning diverse sectors.”

Kain leaves his previous position as global head of the civic and events sector at international architecture firm Woods Bagot, where he led design teams on major civic and public buildings, acting as liaison between the client, designers, engineers and other community stakeholders. While at the firm, Kain spent time based in Brisbane, Adelaide, Auckland, and Sydney.

“A key skill in undertaking large-scale projects is the ability to form a strategic alliance with clients, teams, and stakeholders,” says Kain.

“It is imperative to collaborate, listen and respond at every stage of the project timeline. Warren and Mahoney’s process ensures a diversity of perspectives, making for a stronger whole and mitigating risks throughout.”

His two decades of experience has seen him undertake projects and industry roles across the globe, from Vancouver to Dubai, including government design review panels, architectural award juries, and university positions.

Chairman of Warren and Mahoney, John Coop, said it was an ambitious period for the practice and Kain’s appointment aligned with the strategy to develop closer relationships between the seven studios across New Zealand and Australia.

“Gavin’s strength lies in finding the commonalities and differences in each environment,” says Coop.

“He is borderless in his outlook, globally aware and very well placed to serve our clients’ interests both in the Asia Pacific and further afield internationally.” 

Kain’s expansive expertise will add significant weight to the studio’s capabilities. He is a world-wide leader in the design of convention centres, and was a key member of the design team for the New Zealand International Convention Centre in Auckland.

Kain was also responsible for the design of the $400m Adelaide Convention Centre, the New Zealand International Convention Centre in Auckland, the masterplan for the $250m Christchurch Convention Centre, as well as the concept design for major facilities in Asia, Africa and North America.

“Convention centres are often viewed as big, un-activated boxes, but of interest to me is the way they can contribute to city building and be of value to the community. I always ask ‘what will this mean to the place and the people?’” says Kain.

“The Adelaide Convention Centre presented a satisfying opportunity to regenerate part of the city. In some ways, building at its location in North Terrace was the most difficult option, but the outcome was better for visitors and the community.

“The convention centre became a missing piece of the puzzle that stitched the city and river together.”

Kain’s expertise extends over multiple sectors. Notably, he led the $200m South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) masterplan, which includes up to 25,000sqm of space within a sculptural building in the heart of Adelaide’s medical and health precinct.

He also worked alongside Warren and Mahoney for five years on the masterplan of the NZ$400m New Zealand International Convention Centre in Auckland, and worked alongside the team on the Christchurch Blueprint and the Commercial Bay mixed-use project.

“I’m excited to join a company that has global aspirations where the design focus reflects and strengthens communities,” says Kain.

Kain will work across projects in both New Zealand and Australia. 

Barrington Nick

Warren and Mahoney, has announced the promotion of Nick Deans and Barrington Gohns to Principal, marking a significant phase of growth for the practice as it continues to expand its presence in Australasia.

Nick and Barrington will be assuming the roles of principal at the Melbourne and Auckland studios respectively and will strengthen the practice’s ‘one studio’ approach, whereby its seven studios across Australia and New Zealand function as a collective team.

A senior architect with Warren and Mahoney since 2015, Nick previously held a position at Woods Bagot and is Chair of the Property Council of Australia’s Future Directions Committee Australia, and an active member of the Australian Institute of Architects.

Nicks’ architectural design work spans a range of sectors including commercial, multi- residential, and tertiary design. He has worked closely with developer, GURNER™’s founder Tim Gurner on several of his latest residential projects including Regent Apartments, Stanley Street Apartments, and the upcoming rejuvenation of The Spanish Club.

Nick's collaborative approach to design mirrors Warren and Mahoney’s commitment to working in strategic partnership with its clients.

“ My career has been built around the strength of professional service and the development of client relationships over a period of time,” said Nick.

“ I am a strong collaborator and am transparent in my approach to design. I am proud to work at a studio that embraces this approach, and brings innovative and functional ideas to all sectors of design.

“ As a trans-Tasman practice, Warren and Mahoney brings a fresh set of eyes and a point of difference to the Australian market.”

Barrington has been with Warren and Mahoney since his days at the University of Auckland in 2009, where he quickly built up a team of specialist graduates to test new environments within private and public-use spaces.

Barringtons’ experience includes major commercial and public projects including the redevelopment of TVNZ, the design and development of five-star Hotel 3 at Auckland Airport and the recently completed mixed-use star car showroom for Giltrap Group.

“ Warren and Mahoney has worked on shaping cities over the past 60 years, creating sustainable communities that bring people together,” said Barrington. 

“This experience gives the studio a unique perspective on city-making that drives us to always look at new and innovative ways of approaching design.”

Gohns’ approach continues to push beyond the realms of traditional architecture, working to create visual installations and technology-driven designs that deliver outstanding results.

Nick and Barrington will work collaboratively across various projects and teams in Australia and New Zealand. 

Chairman of Warren and Mahoney, John Coop, said the promotions mark an important step in Warren and Mahoney’s growth strategy.

“ Nick and Barrington will move into our leadership team, driving us forward and enhancing the skills and capabilities of studio,” said John.

“ As an international practice, our team is comprised of some of the most talented designers from around the world, each of whom bring their own unique set of skills and experience.

“ We are a 300-strong team, and we leverage that experience and hone those skills in the pursuit of architectural excellence.”

Warren and Mahoney has also recently promoted the following individuals to Associate:


Thomas Hansen 

Edward Salib 


Holly Campbell

Ngata Tapsell

Sebastian Hamilton


Cheryl Kilpatrick