University of Canterbury College of Engineering
The $140 million Canterbury Engineering the Future (CETF) project involved a full scale refurbishment of the existing facilities with the provision of a new centralised ‘hub’ space to provide a unified and legible presence for the College of Engineering and the University campus.
The Canterbury Engineering the Future (CETF) project began with a vision to create a modern, internationally recognised College of Engineering. The project imagined a dynamic 21st Century learning environment that would attract the profession’s best academia and empower graduates to lead the engineering world of the future. The $140 million CETF project involved a full scale refurbishment of the existing engineering facilities, in addition to the provision of a new centralised ‘hub’ or ‘core’. The Core creates a link between the existing engineering departments whilst providing a unified home base for the college and greater campus.
The Core delivers a vibrant and multi-faceted community for learning, study and collaboration which encourages a ‘stickiness’ to college life. Upon entry, a strong steel portal announces the point of arrival and welcome into the space, while the open plan layout beyond provides clear and intuitive way-finding A strong horizontal axis provides an active ‘promenade’ through the space and links surrounding social spaces. The edges of this axis are delineated by key joinery elements which provide ‘pause points’ and spatial cues in a predominantly open plan environment. These elements further embrace the cultural narrative of the project, and the story of Rata, with the joinery referencing the creation of a Waka and a canoe-inspired form.
The Core is the key facilitator of cross pollination between the four departments of engineering, as well as the connector to the wider campus. The design challenges traditional learning environments and pedagogies by creating a dynamic and socially-rich community as a platform for 21st century learning. The single, large internal atrium acts as a multi-functional podium for academic and student life, with innovative design and technology allowing the space to transform into numerous modes for public and private use. ‘In-between’ spaces have been deliberately created in traditionally transitory zones to further foster interaction and collaboration, while future proof design thinking allows for the impressive trussed ceiling to act as a suspension for showcasing engineering.
Renowned as a world class engineering research and educational facility, CETF continues to exemplify this through a formative building design that speaks of aspiration, innovation and engineering.
In association with Jackson Architecture, Melbourne.