The brief was to deliver a sustainable building where students could expand their knowledge of different engineering design solutions and materials – and our team delivered just that.
Powell Fenwick provided the Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, Fire, Civil and Hydraulic engineering services for Kahukura, Ara Institute of Canterbury’s engineering and architectural studies building. Our team collaborated closely with the client and design and construction teams – Jasmax and Hawkins Construction – to ensure the resultant building was highly efficient, sustainable and delivered on the desired education outcomes.
The wide range of structural solutions integrated seamlessly into the design included a locally grown timber gravity support structure with concrete cores and steel brace frames to provide the lateral bracing for the building. All systems were exposed to keep them highly visible for the students’ viewing.
Sustainable qualities of the building are many. They include passive design with high thermal insulation and automated natural ventilation to extensive areas, heat recovery ventilation systems, high efficiency air source hot water heat pumps, solar hot water, rainwater harvesting and 400 solar photovoltaic cells, to name a few. The solar PV produces up to 40 percent of the building’s energy demands with excess generation also feeding into Ara’s own electrical grid to offset energy usage in other areas of the campus.
A large mixer stair encourages stair usage while also doubling as a tiered seating presentation area. The stair atrium contributes to the daylighting of the building for occupant comfort and reduced lighting energy consumption.
This award-winning building is an exemplar of sustainable and innovative engineering at its finest.