2019 Auckland Architecture Awards Winner
Ngā Wai Hono, AUT School of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences (ECMS) Building
On its most commonly viewed side, on Symonds St, Jasmax’s Ngā Wai Hono has established a striking conversation with its neighbour, the old red brick “Doctors’ Houses”. Similar in shape, size and colour but entirely different in style and materials, the new building is both a tribute to the old and a declaration that in this new space you’ll find a whole new world of excitement, wonder and achievement. Because that’s what AUT’s new ECMS building sets out to be: a living embodiment of the intellectual pursuits it contains. The air-con is a teaching model; so are the use of surfaces, the division of spaces, the way services are supplied and conduited, the treatment of waste, the harnessing and use of energy, the integration of mechanical function with human aspiration and need. There are walkways right through the building but the main entrance is on the side, on St Paul St, and gives onto a large multi-functional atrium with engaging wooden construction features. This is engineering celebrated as a profession of the humanities as well as the sciences: art adorns the walls leading to laboratories and workshops containing machines large and small; the big lecture theatre is designed to double as a group work space and the front wall has picture windows to each side: a dull lecturer must rise to the challenge of competing with the view outside.