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Highly commended: Alexander (Sacha) Milojevic

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Newmarket Campus as a Porous Megaform by Alexander (Sacha) Milojevic, University of Auckland School of Architecture and Planning.

The impetus for this project is the University of Auckland’s replacement of two outer-suburb campuses with a new 5.2ha campus on what was the Lion Nathan Brewery site in Newmarket.

The programme is conceptualised as a dense and porous aggregation of overlapping places: academic, courtyard, assembly and shared spaces, footpaths, rail station, access lanes, parking and retail. The aim was to create a special ‘place apart’ – different from the rest of the city yet contributing a good urban design through a truly permeable public urban quarter linking Grafton and Newmarket.

Walking up out of the Auckland Domain on the wide ramp or up the many other stairs and ramps to the roof terraces reinforces the idea that this is an urban landform. Out of this ‘geology’ I have excavated the University’s spaces to carefully daylight the rooms, from the very big to very small. Entry into, around and through the whole site is intended to be ‘natural’, like an entangled root system, with a wide range of options and routes that set up a multiplicity of connections through the University. The dense cluster of accommodation and multitude of pedestrian and vehicle passages, allows students, staff and visitors to see, hear and even smell the activities on site: exhibition spaces, assembly rooms, student centres, shops, technical workshops and cafes.

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Created with intelligence and intuition, this project offers a vision of an educational community, conceived in an organic manner from a series of single rooms outwards. It recognises the ‘world apart’ quality great universities share, yet does not ignore its urban context. Every part of this deftly presented scheme exudes a sense of passion for architecture.

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