Building walls of history
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.