University of Canterbury Puaka James Hight Undercroft

Students Entrance Exterior
Students Entrance Exterior

The Puaka James Hight Undercroft project at the University of Canterbury consists of three phases. The first phase, the ’Undercroft Lounge’ has activated the central hub of the Puaka James Hight building by successfully reinterpreting the brutalist bicycle storage and under-utilised centrally planned double height space into a sophisticated student lounge.

This space replaced the ‘tent-city’, the initial quake response solution that housed student social activity from the recently damaged USCA building.

Now a warm enclave full of student life; brightly coloured furniture weaves its way through the space allowing a range of activities from quiet study and lunchtime eating to the more energetic communal  and social activities of student life such as political meetings, fashion shows and USCA balls that all contribute to a rich and varied student life.

Phase two of the project included the addition of further food and beverage functions along the perimeter of the Phase one development, increasing connectivity and natural light to the overall project. Phase three incorporated retail and seminar facilities.