The Whitaker Place development is a new student accommodation campus for the University of Auckland. It will provide accommodation for over 786 students, along with common social spaces.
At its core, student living must provide students with the spaces that foster learning. By ensuring the wellbeing of its residents and offering opportunities to study and socialise, a student living project should go beyond being somewhere to sleep and improve the University experience. Waiparuru Hall will provide enhanced experiences to 786 University of Auckland students.
As part of the University’s wider accommodation strategy, and the largest student living project in New Zealand, Waiparuru Hall will reinforce Whitaker Place as a student living precinct. Individual student rooms are accommodated in two towers connected at the base by a podium – the learning landscape. The design has been developed on the notion of LIVE, LEARN, EAT influenced by pedagogy, workplace, customer experience and hospitality design. The podium spaces have been designed to respond to the demands of society’s young adults over the lifespan of the building.
At an urban design level Waiparuru Hall will be an important addition to Auckland’s urban skyline; forming an edge to the Eastern side of the central business district, against Grafton Gully. Façade treatment and the modelling of the towers’ form has been carefully considered to mark the University’s presence at the edge of the CBD and massing within its surrounding context. The activation of the Whitaker Place street frontage has been a key focus and a high level of visibility between the street and the activity within. The ground floor becomes an extension of the street, offering life, security and visual release from an otherwise enclosed cul-de-sac.
In continuing the benchmark set by University Hall, each tower floor hosts a central living space which, experience suggests, becomes the hub for a community of its own. The common spaces have been designed to adopt each floor's own personality, expressed through their occupation of the floor. At the same time, individual student rooms offer the opportunity for students to seek full seclusion.
Waiparuru Hall will offer important and formative experiences for students who, in their first year away from home, will become part of a wider campus community. It will become an important addition to the city, university and street.