2019 Auckland Architecture Awards Winner
Plant and Food Research - Cunningham Building
Not surprisingly, the first purpose-built science facility in New Zealand – opened for the DSIR in 1939 – had, by early this century, gone well past its use-by date. Laboratory work, and everything that goes with it, has more sophisticated requirements today. And there were the seismic requirements. But still, buried beneath the shabbiness, the building was a charmer, and Bossley Architects were asked to rethink it as a social hub. Meeting rooms, bicycle storage, and most of all a central cafe for the 280 staff scattered throughout the many other buildings on the campus. Restoration involved roof replacement; repair of the original stucco, steel windows and staircase; replacement of the exterior doors in the style of; exposure of long-hidden elements like the terracotta flooring and capitals on the columns; and the introduction of new kitchen and toilet facilities. Beyond all that, a delightful sense of the modern was established with the colour scheme, new fittings and other decorative elements. The Cunningham is a model of restoration: a charming, fully functional and future-proofed mid-century building that staff, clearly, love to hang out in.