The initial project feasibility study set out to determine the potential for transforming the existing 1960’s hall into a combination of lecture theatres and/or classrooms, in response to the increasing demand for teaching space on the University’s Akoranga campus. Having selected their preferred option of dividing the building into two lecture theatres, the client set us the challenge of producing a unique and innovative design solution within the tight budgetary constraints.
Our response was to propose the insertion of a new organic object as a ‘vessel for learning’ into the rectilinear ‘container’ that is the existing building. This ‘vessel’ contains the new 250 seat lecture theatre while the former stage area beyond the proscenium arch has been transformed into a 133 seat theatre.
The contrast established between the crisp new object and it’s seasoned container intends to highlight the development from the more elementary teaching spaces and methods of times past (analogue) to contemporary high tech teaching environments (digital).
DESIGN OBJECTIVES ‘State of the art’ lecture theatre facilities for the University interesting and attractive venue for leasing to external parties effective re-use of the existing auditorium building functional and efficient asset for the University
DESIGN CONCEPT Stand alone ‘organic object’ within the ‘historical container’ (analogies: digital/analogue, kernel of knowledge, egg) The ‘object’ as a ‘vessel for contemporary learning’ Deliberate contrast of the ‘organic’ form and skin of the ‘object’ with the existing rectilinear timbered/concrete ‘container’ Create an interesting ‘journey’ around the ‘object’ to the lecture theatre beyond
FUNCTIONAL curved walls in plan ease circulation around the large lecture theatre to the smaller theatre beyond the plan shape provides additional space at the entry points to the smaller theatre the lecture theatres cater for a variety of presentation formats and lecture deliveries from multi-media presentations to practical demonstrations the ‘skin’ of the large lecture theatre is made from a tough, durable material (Melteca) and the panels can be easily removed for repair or replacement careful planning has achieved a very efficient facility in terms of occupant density