State-of-art build­ing for bud­ding en­gi­neers

DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing - - NEWS -

AUT’S EN­GI­NEER­ING stu­dents will be able to test their the­o­ries on the build­ing they work in, now the School of En­gi­neer­ing, Com­puter and Math­e­mat­i­cal Sciences has moved into an NZD120m state- of-the-art build­ing on Sy­monds and St Paul Streets on AUT’s City Cam­pus to­day.

At 12 storeys high, the build­ing marks the first time a NZ univer­sity has com­bined en­gi­neer­ing with com­puter and math­e­mat­i­cal sciences in one precinct.

The head of the School, Dean of En­gi­neer­ing, Pro­fes­sor En­rico Haem­merle, says a drive for en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents to have more hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence meant the build­ing was de­signed to be a liv­ing lab.

“The stu­dents will be able to test their the­o­ries on the build­ing it­self. They can use dual air con­di­tion­ing sys­tems in one room and com­pare how they per­form, they can get a first-hand look at what it takes to make a build­ing like this run by study­ing the plant rooms and us­ing the build­ing’s BMS sys­tem, and that’s just the start.“

Prof. Haem­merle says com­bin­ing the three sub­ject ar­eas un­der one roof will mir­ror the in­dus­tries stu­dents will work in.

“IT ex­perts, en­gi­neers and math­e­ma­ti­cians work to­gether ev­ery day in most ma­jor busi­nesses and that’s the way we need to teach. Hav­ing all our staff and stu­dents un­der one roof al­lows for more col­lab­o­ra­tions, more re­search and more net­work­ing.”

The build­ing, which has taken 2.5 years to build, in­cludes two cafes, ex­hi­bi­tion space, a large lec­ture theatre, col­lab­o­ra­tive so­cial learn­ing spa­ces on ev­ery level, struc­ture test­ing lab, ex­per­i­men­ta­tion roof, project stu­dios and com­puter labs.

AUT’s Vice- Chan­cel­lor Derek McCor­mack says the build­ing was needed due to the huge growth in stu­dents study­ing STEM sub­jects at AUT.

“In 2008 we had just over 1200 stu­dents study­ing to­ward a de­gree or post grad­u­ate qual­i­fi­ca­tion in en­gi­neer­ing, com­puter and math­e­mat­i­cal sciences, last year we had more than 3600. Our fore­cast­ing shows this growth is set to con­tinue due to govern­ment push but also a short­age in these in­dus­tries in NZ.”

In the past 10 years AUT has also seen a strong rise in the num­ber of fe­male stu­dents, un­der 20s and Pa­cific stu­dents in these sub­jects as well.

“One of the big­gest in­creases has been the num­ber of stu­dents work­ing to­wards PHD’s in these three sub­jects. In 2008 there were 69 and in 2017 we had more than 280. This is tes­ta­ment to AUT’s world­class re­search and distin­guished re­searchers in this sec­tor.”

Sus­tain­abil­ity was a key fac­tor in the build­ing’s de­sign. It will use 101 kilo­watt hours (kWH) of energy per square me­tre (sqm) but AUT plans to re­duce this down to 90 over its first year through fine tun­ing and tweak­ing. Most com­mer­cial build­ings use about 200kWh per sqm. The build­ing’s data will be dis­played on screens en­abling stu­dents to see first-hand how the build­ing is per­form­ing in terms of energy, wa­ter and gas con­sump­tion. Rain­wa­ter will be re­cov­ered from the build­ing and used in labs and LED lights are used through­out with sev­eral ar­eas fit­ted with sen­sors to turn off lights when spa­ces aren’t be­ing used. The so­lar fins on the build­ing’s façade will also al­low light to enter the build­ing but ex­clude di­rect heat to ease the load on air con­di­tion­ing sys­tems.

Jas­max, the ar­chi­tec­ture firm be­hind the de­sign, say the façade was mod­elled us­ing high tech en­vi­ron­men­tal de­sign and wind pres­sure test­ing.

Lead Ar­chi­tect for the project and Jas­max Prin­ci­pal, Chris Scott, says el­e­ments of the in­side were also a first for the com­pany and AUT’s vi­sion for a range of flex­i­ble and adapt­able spa­ces that cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for new ways of work­ing and in­ter­dis­ci­plinary col­lab­o­ra­tion was ex­cit­ing.

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