Build­ing walls of his­tory

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Whi­tireia stu­dents are in for a vis­ual treat as their lon­gawaited new cam­pus block takes shape.

The build­ing is $16.5 mil­lion and 3817 square me­tres, and will be fin­ished by De­cem­ber. Its small de­tails will be as im­pres­sive as its grand scale, lead ar­chi­tect Michael Melville says.

Moulded con­crete Maori carv­ings on the ex­ter­nal walls and in­side the block will tell a story about the univer­sity’s his­tory and its stu­dents and staff, he says.

‘‘You can see this in­cred­i­ble wall from a dis­tance but when you get closer you can read a whole nar­ra­tive in it.’’

Whi­tireia tu­tor in whakairo (carv­ing) James Mol­nar cre­ated tri­an­gu­lar designs and poulike pan­els for the build­ing, us­ing mo­tifs of birds, sharks, seeds, hu­man fig­ures and korowai (cloaks).

The build­ing will be­come a strik­ing and recog­nis­able Porirua land­mark, Mr Melville says.

‘‘We want to hark back to the uni as a bea­con to stu­dents, to guide them through their lives.’’

Whi­tireia chief ex­ec­u­tive Don Camp­bell agrees: ‘‘It will be some­thing that not only Whi­tireia but Porirua can be proud of.’’

The new block will be a world- class fa­cil­ity, with state-of-the-art lab space for health stu­dents, glass-walled class­rooms and a multi-use, open-plan hall dubbed a ‘‘learn­ing street’’, he says.

‘‘Even though the fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion is chal­leng­ing we had to put a stake in the ground. We have got to have first-class fa­cil­i­ties for our stu­dents.’’

Shap­ing up: Whi­tireia’s new cam­pus de­vel­op­ment will be world-class and visu­ally sump­tu­ous, its de­sign­ers say. From left, carv­ing tu­tor James Mol­nar, project man­ager Jonathan Moss, lead ar­chi­tect Michael Melville, and cap­i­tal as­sets man­ager Kelvin Irvine.

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