Weir House, Wellington
Studio Pacific was commissioned by Victoria University of Wellington to design this extension to the first year Halls of Residence at Weir House.
Economy was a major driver in the design of the extension; however sustainability initiatives were also incorporated to produce a building that is cost-effective, attractive and environmentally friendly. The building is clad in low maintenance grey zinc panels that shift subtly into the shadows of the surrounding bush. Coloured glass panels, referring to the greens and reds of the surrounding pohutukawa trees, lend individuality to the exterior expression of each room.
As a measure of economy in the interior design, a set of three repeated floor plans of rooms off a generous central corridor was employed. In each room, the wardrobe, wash basin and desk are grouped along one side to make the room feel spacious. The window has opening sashes at high and low levels, ensuring good ventilation. A deep windowsill offers a place to sit and warm one’s legs on the radiator in winter. Colours on the interior take their cue from the exterior, with a bright staircase and colour-coded doors.
To encourage the mixing of students from each floor, a glazed gathering space or piranga is attached to the staircase on the middle floor. This sunny conservatory, offering a space for socialising or group study, provides excellent views back to the main campus and acts as a beacon at night, identifying the entrance to the building.
Well-insulated to a level higher than that required by the building code, the new building employs low VOC emission sealants and paints, a 100% wool carpet from an environmental choice range, energy efficient lighting and maximum natural ventilation.
Client: Victoria University of Wellington