Students who had been away from campus over the holiday period will probably be surprised to see how much progress has been made on the new, yet to be named building.

The $20.1 million, 3600sqm structure is scheduled to be completed in May. It will provide gallery space for students as well as facilities for teaching and learning at the college.

The building will be a new facility for design students, but it has also been designed to be flexible and not just a new building to evacuate old office space. There will be mini-galleries dotted around which will allow for display spaces, and new green screen rooms will be a god-send for animation students who will have access to greater technology.

Thedistinctive windows that can now be seen on the exterior have been designed to allow ‘quality light’ into the building instead of simple views of Wellington. Light, as any designer would agree, is integral to the design process and shows the architects and designers have not forgotten who would be using the space.

Multimedia will also take centre stage. There is a multi-purpose room that can be used for lectures, small plays and conferences. The space has concertina stage seating that allows for small intimate shows or wide open performance areas. This will be the first of its kind on the Wellington campus.

The prominent placement of the building should also help bridge the physical boundaries between the College of Business and the College of Design at Wellington. Previously, students had to detour around the high school to commute to each campus. Though the separation is purely physical, it does detract from a united feeling at the university. The new building should change this and provide students with easy and quick access to each campus and really unite the two schools.

Most exciting is the use of revolutionary construction material to provide a strong, earthquake-resistant structure. Since the Canterbury earthquakes this has been a priority for construction projects.  The building is designed to ‘rock and sway’ during an earthquake and then return to its original position afterwards. Many advanced engineering techniques are used to create this effect, and the building is the first of its kind to use post-tensioned walls in a multi-storey complex.

 MASSIVE magazine will be running a feature on these new earthquake- resistant features in  March.

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