University of Waikato Tauranga Campus wins top Australasian award

17 June 2020

University of Waikato Tauranga campus

The University of Waikato Tauranga Campus scooped a top award for its innovative learning environment design at an Australasian awards ceremony last week.

The Tauranga Campus, designed by Aotearoa New Zealand leading architecture practice, Jasmax, working in collaboration with the University of Waikato and its community partners, won the New Construction / Entire New Educational Facility Category at Learning Environments Australasia’s 12th Annual Awards for Excellence in Educational Facilities. The project won the prestigious honour from a highly competitive shortlist of buildings from New Zealand, Australia, and Singapore.

Learning Environments Australasia is the peak body advocating for quality and innovation in learning environments to enhance student outcomes. They seek to raise awareness of the essential interplay between space design, pedagogy, and technology. The awards showcase architects and educators working together to produce excellent educational facilities.

Judges’ comment: “The University of Waikato Tauranga Campus is a stunningly elegant building that achieves its stated vision to deliver ‘a foundational university building in Tauranga, and in so doing grounds the project in its sense of place and people’. It exhibits a simplicity in its solution to a complex technical brief with a rich layering of meaning. The facility is a statement of the importance and opportunity for educational buildings to fully and comprehensively understand and engage with their cultural context. It is a learning environment that engenders a deep sense of belonging that connects to the past, while creating a catalyst for an inclusive future.”

Jasmax CEO Sjoerd Post

Jasmax CEO, Sjoerd Post, says: “The University of Waikato Tauranga Campus is world-leading example of bi-cultural design and it’s incredibly affirming that this has been recognised on an international stage. The University and Jasmax shared the vision for raising the bar on indigenous design intelligence and subsequent outcomes in the built environment.”

“The partnership between Jasmax, the University of Waikato and the team of cultural artists and advisors was integral throughout the project. The partnership informed the conceptual and educational innovations for the project, delivering on the University’s aspiration for an educational facility that speaks to local heritage and cultural identity, becoming a changemaker, and lifting the uptake of tertiary education for all of the community in the region.”

University of Waikato Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones, says: “We’re delighted this project has been recognised by such a prestigious awards programme. The Jasmax team has created an iconic building that reflects the broader cultural/social/physical environment and incorporates best practice in modern tertiary teaching environments and collaborative social learning spaces for students. The University of Waikato Tauranga Campus is inspiring, functional, innovative and aesthetically beautiful, and we are very proud it showcases world-leading tertiary education in a bi-cultural context.”

University of Waikato Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones

The multi-purpose state-of-the-art facility was a triple winner in the 2019 Bay of Plenty Property Council Awards, taking out the Supreme Excellence, Urban Design and Best Team Awards. The project is shortlisted for the 2020 NZIA Architecture Awards and Property Council Awards, the winners of which will be announced later this year.

Further information about the project

The University of Waikato Tauranga Campus building stands on the high point of Te Papa Peninsula. More than a building, the $55 million, 8400 sqm teaching and research building facility is a sign of the area’s transformation. Its powerful presence delivers a change-maker for tertiary education in the region, connecting the University of Waikato with the Bay of Plenty.

Designed for a capacity for one thousand full time students, it is the first university building in the region. A unique blend of the latest pedagogical, technology, education spatial design thinking, and cultural engagement informed the project. The spatial planning, form, functions and integrated artwork embed the stories of place and people, laying a strong foundation for bi-cultural education and cross-cultural understanding.

More information on the project can be found here.

The campus was made possible through the provision of land from Tauranga City Council, and funding from the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and TECT.

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