13 Aug 2008
Studio Pacific Architecture has been announced as the winner of a nationwide competition to design a major redevelopment of the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Thorndon site.
The Royal Society has owned and operated from its current address for over 20 years, making use of small existing buildings. A large campus style development of the site is planned for the Royal Society as well as other compatible research and technology oriented organisations.
The Chair of the Judging Panel, Professor Michael Keniger said 'The winning design projects a strong identity for the Royal Society and for its future. In essence, it possesses a clarity of formal organisation that provides many possibilities for the design as it proceeds. It has immense potential to excite curiosity about science and technology and literally offers a gateway to science and to knowledge.'
Studio Pacific is delighted the Royal Society of New Zealand has selected our project as the winning design. Our response to the site is built on the interaction between science as a rational objective framework, and the cultural reaction to this framework. The scheme is generated from the idea of two vessels, with a glazed box occupying the space between them as the nodal connecting point of people and ideas. The two vessels are symbolic containers of the knowledge gained from Maori and European exploration, discovery and settlement in New Zealand.
The scheme ground plan is defined by Polynesian star mapping systems used in navigation, subtly folding the ground plane running through the public access plaza, the atrium, the green space, auditorium, conference facilities, café, and laboratories. The building is to be constructed using timber as the primary structural material: using our significant renewable forestry resource. The ESD approach proposed for the project applies a ‘whole building’ environmental engineering approach, integrated with the architectural and structural solutions and using climate-responsive design to achieve a highly efficient green building.