Photographer: Mark Scowen
Manukau Institute of Technology’s new TechPark is a new 9000m2 educational facility that brings together all of the institute’s professional engineering and trade schools under one roof for the first time since Manukau Institute of Technology was founded almost 50 years ago.
TechPark is located on the corner of Lambie Drive and Manukau Station Road. It is across the road from the existing MIT Manukau building that includes the MIT Train Station Terminal beneath and is diagonally opposite the Manukau Bus Station. The site was considered a “gateway” location in terms of public visibility from the motorway and Manukau Station Road.
The project brief consisted of four fundamental elements; classroom type environments, workshop type environments, parking for students and staff and outdoor covered work areas and service circulation. Our fundamental approach to the organisation of these large elements was to firstly locate the pedestrian scale elements such as reception, library and café to the northeastern area of the site, near the Manukau / Wiri Station Roads intersection. This gives the building a stronger gateway presence and encourage pedestrian links to the main campus building. The building was conceived to be more than just as a shell for housing MIT’s teaching delivery, but also to embody innovative learning experiences to fellow students as testimony to the wider Auckland community.
TechPark has been designed as a state of the art facility purpose built to house all of Manukau Institute of Technology’s professional engineering and trade schools, such as carpentry, plumbing, gas fitting, electrical, mechanical, refrigeration, automotive, fabrication, civil and landscape construction. To support these programmes the facility provides a range of industrial workshops, labs, and flexible teaching spaces, as well as a range of other student amenities and office facilities to support the programmes. TechPark includes the latest technology and innovations designed to extend a new centre of excellence for engineering and trades education.
The function of the building required all material selections and construction to be hardwearing, streamlined and pragmatic. The external design generally utilises profiled metal cladding, chosen for its stability and durability, but detailed and specified to add vibrancy to the façade. The exterior design also incorporates Pasifika and Maori references in the patterned glazing at the entrance, along with dark aluminum fins and steel to create a sense of arrival.
Pasifika and Maori references continue through to the interior design and robust material selections also continue internally where different shades of stained plywood and acoustic linings work in combination with exposed services and structural systems intended to become an integral part of the overall student learning experience.