The University of Canterbury
Taking inspiration from nature the colour scheme for Rehua celebrates the robust New Zealand landscape, expressed through a vibrant palette.
The Rehua building at University of Canterbury, provides a new home in the heart of the llam campus, bringing together the University Centre for Entrepreneurship, the Executive Development Programme, and the College of Education, Health & Human Development, including relocation of the College of Education from the Dovedale Campus.
Following significant earthquake damage, the former Commerce Building has been stripped back to its structural frame, extensively repaired, and structurally strengthened as part of the major Rehua reclad and fit-out project.
Rehua features a lofty light-filled central atrium, with open stairs and ramps, and a bold mix of materials, colour and texture. Around the atrium and core sits a range of learning spaces over eight levels of the building to support flexible, interactive learning. Significant investment in technology, remote access and collaborative learning supports emerging teaching pedagogy. Generous and vibrant informal learning and break-out spaces provide support for formal teaching spaces, and welcoming, interactive places for student life.
The interior of the building includes a rich material palette, inserted within the structural fabric of the building, with a fundamental desire to create a familiar sense of belonging for everyone who comes into the building.
Colour, texture and wayfinding references an over-arching narrative of natural materials and images, with colour progression through the levels of the building.
Taking inspiration from nature the colour scheme for Rehua celebrates the robust New Zealand landscape, expressed through a vibrant and textural palette. Honest materials, such as concrete and poutama patterned plywood, are complemented by timber repurposed from the existing building, acknowledging its history and creating a familiar sense of belonging. Natural light and local imagery inform each space with wayfinding aided by a colour scale that moves up through each floor, from ‘earth’ clay tones to ‘sky’ blue tones.
The highlight colours for each floor reference the natural surroundings;
This palette creates playful and welcoming spaces and supports wayfinding throughout. Each colour was carefully selected with consideration of the use of the space, especially in learning environments, to avoid distraction but still inject life. Walls have been painted in Resene Zylone Sheen, with lower level concrete floors in Resene Aquapoxy, all teamed with neutral walls in Resene Black White (grey white).
The University of Canterbury has its own set of Interior Design Guidelines. These guidelines stipulate a preferred colour palette for each building in the campus, with each assigned a single highlight colour. While developing the concept for the Rehua building, the idea of using a range of colours throughout the building and to aid in wayfinding was generated. While it steps outside the usual guidelines for the University the vibrant colour scheme was embraced and has been very successful.
This project won the Resene Total Colour Education Award. The judges said “sophisticated and integrated with the architecture of the building, this palette evolves from space to space embracing open areas, while still distinguishing spaces and harnessing canvases, such as the ceiling, to add touches of colour. The power of colour is fully embraced with bolder colours to support wayfinding and quieter colours to allow for contemplation. The perfect lesson in how to use colour.”
Architectural specifier: Athfield Architects
Building contractor: Hawkins
Client: University of Canterbury
Painting contractor: Spencer Painters
Photographer: Simon Devitt
Winner: Resene Total Colour Education Award
Project: Resene Total Colours Awards 2019
From the Resene News – issue 3/20
The Resene Total Colour Awards celebrate and encourage creative use of colour. For colour and decorating inspiration, browse through the hundreds of projects submitted...