Royal Society Campus, Wellington
In 2008 Studio Pacific won a nationwide competition to design the redevelopment of the Royal Society of New Zealand office and grounds, which they have occupied for over 30 years. Studio Pacific’s winning concept has gone on to be developed into a new built complex that brings cohesiveness to the site, brings all staff together into one building, and creates a strong presence representative of the Society’s ethos.
Originally the Society’s 40 staff were dispersed between three old residential-style cottages and a 1970’s concrete block. To bring staff together, the original two-storey ‘white box’ concrete block to the rear of the site was refurbished and a new third level added on. Perpendicular to this, a new annex building or ‘black box’ has been constructed at the front of the site. This houses conference and meeting facilities. At their collision, a glazed linking foyer forms a three-floor atrium gallery space. Lessons learned from the Christchurch earthquake informed its structural design. The atrium provides a flexible open space to be used to promote science and foster science education, such as collaborative research exhibition projects. Its height and apertures allow natural light to be exploited, adding depth to the space while drawing visitors through from the street.
Locally-sourced native plants and grasses weave through the site connecting to a sheltered internal courtyard. The landscaping is woven around the L-shaped border of the courtyard to create an inviting garden space for staff and conference visitors.
Delivered successfully within a tight budget, the design follows a ‘whole building’ environmental engineering approach, integrating architectural and structural elements, and using climate-responsive design to achieve a highly efficient green building.
Client: Royal Society of New Zealand