University of Otago University Plaza
The University Plaza project houses academic and recreational facilities and is located on a high profile site adjacent and connected to the new Dunedin Stadium at the eastern periphery of the existing Otago University campus.
The University Plaza project houses academic and recreational facilities. The site is located adjacent and connected to the new Dunedin Stadium at the eastern periphery of the existing Otago University campus. The high profile site is one of strategic importance to the University, and an opportunity to closely associate itself with a key city amenity.
At the heart of the project is the provision of a generous outdoor plaza - oriented to the north, and in close proximity to the recreational amenity of Logan Park and the civic amenity of the Dunedin Stadium – this plaza is viewed as a key student social space within the wider campus.
The building forms the eastern edge to the ‘University Plaza’ and recognises the quality of the plaza as an everyday space for habitation and relaxation. The building façades fronting and addressing the Plaza are carefully considered to introduce human scaled articulation, together with a material palette appropriate to an academic environment, while also maximising opportunities for activity and interaction at ground level.
The unique combination of academic spaces and long span sports and recreation spaces led to the adoption of an ‘interlocking’ planning diagram (where academic spaces wrap around the recreational spaces) allowing the façade to be highly articulated, with a significant degree of glazing for most of the façade. Similarly, this diagram permits the building to be predominantly ‘academic’ in nature. Office and teaching spaces are located in highly visible locations from which the expression of the building is derived.
The overall massing of the building is broken up by the full height atrium serving the academic spaces and by the double height entry space providing access to the recreational facilities and cafe. Each of these entry spaces has a strong visible presence within the plaza and provides for high levels of ground level activity and interaction. To the north of the full height atrium, the building addresses the adjacent park with a series of vertical stone ‘fins’ and expressed horizontal sun-shading. These fins create a highly articulated northern façade with deep shadows and a strong expression of the classroom spaces contained within.
The design uses a restricted palette of high quality, durable, natural materials which are appropriate to the academic nature of the building. Stone, concrete, and glass are the predominant materials. The use of Oamaru stone is widely established throughout the university across a wide variety of building types and architectural styles, and its use here achieves a high degree of integration with the existing campus.
In association with local architects McCoy and Wixon Architects Ltd.