Te Ara Hihiko College of Creative Arts

Project Details

Athfield Architects Limited

Massey University Wallace Street, Mt Cook Wellington , Wellington 6021 New Zealand

Jeremy Perrott


Trends Publishing, Matt Paterson, Jeff Brass

Project Overview

The College of Creative Arts, Te Ara Hihiko, is a structured learning environment providing an inter-connected learning landscape incorporating a range of teaching/learning spaces- work, exhibition, social interaction, amenity, green-screen film studio and workshops. The design encourages experimentation and artistic expression. It includes the world 's first multi-storey post-tensioned timber frame.

The College of Creative Arts building, Te Ara Hihiko was designed to provide students with a structured learning environment, while encouraging experimentation and artistic expression.
The five storey building is arranged on a north-south axis and comprises a pair of vertically stacked, lofty but lightweight linear studio 'containers ' that straddle the escarpment, stepping down the contour and enveloping a major new circulation route connecting the upper and lower terraces of the campus, thus embodying the literal meaning of 'Te Ara Hihiko ' – a pathway of creativity. It provides an inter-connected learning landscape, incorporating a range of teaching/ learning spaces, work spaces, exhibition and social interaction space, amenity spaces, green-screen film studio and workshops. Every space has been designed with multiple use possibilities in mind, and has the ability to be reconfigured to suit a range of needs that might develop over time.
The structure includes the world 's first multi-storey post-tensioned timber frame, resting on a conventional masonry and insitu concrete plinth. The structural design enables the building to 'rock ' open and closed as the frame sways in an earthquake and incorporates damage avoidance design principles allowing for early occupation of the building following an earthquake.
Many environmental principles are employed, including a timber frame with low embodied energy, composite floor units combining the compressive thermal mass and acoustic properties of concrete with the tensile and lightness of timber. Natural ventilation is also used throughout.
The building has encouraged staff to rethink how they teach, with a general move away from instruction towards facilitation. Staff are recognizing the space as a learning space rather than a teaching space - a move in thinking supported by the architecture. The flexible learning and studio spaces in the building design help dissolve barriers between the various fields of study and there is now an enhanced layer of encounter and interaction between year levels with knowledge transfer being dramatically increased. The proximity of different courses provides opportunities for 'eavesdropping ' and a broader awareness of the design discipline through its multiple fields.

This page last updated: Tuesday 26 May 2015

2015 Category 2 New Construction Major Facility