The Population Health complex, designed by Architectus Auckland, is a distinctive structure that works with its surroundings to create a unique environment promoting collaboration.
Sustainability is an integral part of the design, with the building boasting energy efficient heating and lighting systems.
Architectural, structural and service elements fulfill multiple roles such as providing a high level of passive environmental controls. The design approach includes:
- a layered façade comprising fins, columns, overhangs and sunshades which
facilitate good shading and reduce solar gain
- a highly insulated enclosure that provides twice the amount of insulation
required by the building code
- a building plan form that allows for good levels of natural light and
ventilation thus reducing the requirements for artificial lighting and
- utilisation of the thermal mass of the exposed structural floor system to reduce
night-time cooling in winter and encourage pre-cooling in summer
- hollow concrete floor beam units, which are used as an efficient air
distribution system in mechanically ventilated and air-conditioned areas
- use of, where possible, materials that stem from sustainable resources or materials that can easily be recycled.
The implementation of the sustainable design features reduces the building's heating, cooling and electricity demands and assists in providing a stimulating and healthy working environment. These reductions are expected to be in the order of 30-40%.
Special attention has also been given to the landscape design with plants like Bidibidi, Honeysuckle, Nikau Palm and Karaka featured in a medicinal garden on the Morrin Road side of the building.
Māori and Pacific influences can be seen throughout the building with cultural design advice provided by Rewi Thompson, who collaborated with Architectus Auckland and provided input into the organisation of the building and its use for Māori ceremony and protocol, and assisted in the selection of materials.
A number of Māori and Pacific artists were commissioned to create special artworks for the building, including Lonnie Hutchinson, Ani O'Neill and Glen Wolfgramm. A large stone installation by renowned sculptor Dennis O'Connor is
also featured in the building.
The atrium is the centrepiece of the complex, filling the interior with light and air and links to all levels creating a community feel. A sense of community is further enhanced by the courtyard and café.
The design incorporates a high degree of flexibility to accommodate innovation in technology, teaching and faculty organisation. The intentional use of an open floor plan - a building layout that is uncommon at the University of Auckland - is expected to enhance communication.
The first floor of the building emphasises the school's mission to be of service to the community with four specialist clinics, including
audiology, optometry, occupational medicine and speech language therapy clinics. Leading practitioners provide world-class treatment at affordable prices for the public, while at the same time training and supervising new health professionals.
The main teaching facilities are located on level two and include a 100-seat function room, three 60-seat seminar rooms, a 40-seat seminar room, and a 40-seat computer lab. Research suites are located on levels three and four and will be used to nurture the exchange of information and ideas. Students enrolled in the School of Population Health, and in the Schools of Optometry, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Occupational Medicine are expected to benefit from the new facilities.