From the Resene Total Colour Awards gallery — Christchurch
Athfield Architects (AAL) have been working with Ara (formerly CPIT) for over twenty years through various master planning exercises, new builds and refurbishments.
Te Kei, is a new administration hub to house Ara’s executive and management teams. It is situated next to the new North Green, a large central green space for the campus that was identified as a key move of the original 1997 Master Plan.
Te Kei refers to the bow of the canoe, where people in leadership would sit. The new building consolidates Ara’s executive and management teams, previously dispersed across and beyond the campus, into a central building identifying a new campus gateway.
A generous canopy extends over the North Green providing a welcoming entry to the building into a central atrium space, also accessed from Williams Street. The atrium contains social and informal meeting areas and meeting rooms. A staff café overlooks the atrium and provides a social hub for the building. The building core houses unisex amenities, store and plant areas to the north and connects via a shared loading bay to an existing building.
The workspace areas to the south, on both levels, are arranged to prioritise shared open workspace around the perimeter, benefiting from natural light and views, with meeting, offices, utility and collaboration spaces focused in the core. A circulation ring provides a buffer between these spaces and connects the workspaces to the atrium.
The materials reference existing buildings across campus; vertical timber, zinc and curtain wall glazing. The zinc cladding pattern and interior finishes reference raranga, the art of weaving, recognising the craft and hands on learning promoted at Ara. An integrated artwork by Catherine Griffiths adorns the double height north glazing and ground floor glazing of the building providing privacy and solar shading.
Ground floor walls were painted in a monochromatic palette of Resene Quarter Ash, Resene Half Sea Fog, Resene Half Friar Grey and Resene All Black, using a combination of Resene Zylone Sheen or Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen Kitchen & Bathroom. This same palette, with the addition of Resene Half Sea Fog, is used on timber doors finished in Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel.
Meeting room walls were finished in Resene Sandtex Superfine tinted to Resene Half Sea Fog, adding visual interest with the lightly textured finish.
Timber joinery is protected in Resene Aquaclear satin allowing the beauty of the grain to show through.
Steelwork inside and out is finished in Resene Uracryl 403 in Resene Friar Grey with the addition of a custom made Resene colour for the exterior, which was extended onto soffits in Resene Sonyx 101 semi-gloss waterborne paint. The custom Resene colour to match the zinc cladding enabled the floating zinc box to be read as one; soffit and steel trims matching this rich, autumn red colour.
Dry look sealer to the precast concrete panels (internally and externally) meant these dropped back and let other materials and colours speak louder. Interior concrete walls are clear finished in Resene Concrete Clear Flat and concrete floors in Resene Uracryl 402. On the exterior the concrete walls are clear finished in Resene Solventborne Aquapel and Resene Uracryl 404.
Lightly textured and neutral surfaces to public meeting areas provided interest and contrast to the darker carpet and ceilings. Deep greys were used to define office, ceiling forms and doors throughout the building. Fire stairs enjoy punches of Resene Zest and Resene Spotlight to add joy to these usual back of house spaces.
The building has a large mix of materials; zinc/metal, timbers, steel, concrete, tiles etc. The Resene palette of colours, finishes and textures allowed these other materials to speak loud and work harmoniously together, linking and respecting them, proving an overall cohesive richness to the building.
Architectural specifier: Athfield Architects Ltd
Building contractor: Southbase Construction
Client: Ara Institute of Canterbury
Interior designer: Athfield Architects Ltd
Painting contractor: Jeff Dermott Painting Group
Photographer: Jason Mann
Typographer artist: Catherine Griffiths
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