Te Auaha, Whitireia Weltec Centre

Project Summary

Client: Willis Bond and Whitireia/Waltec

Project Type: Education Retail

Project Timeframe: 2015-2017

Architects: Foster + Melville

Awards: Excellence, GIB Education Property Awards, Property Council NZ Awards 2018

Project Description

Eight hundred creative arts students and tutors began the 2018 academic year in superb new premises in downtown Wellington as a result of a joint project between LT McGuinness and Whitireia/Weltec.

The project’s first major element was the base-build construction of a new six-storey building on the corner of Dixon and Cuba Streets. In addition to the 9200sqm campus, the building includes 745sqm of ground floor retail space along Cuba Street’s pedestrian mall for stores such as Barkers Menswear, Cotton On and Vodafone.

The entire structure is designed to the seismic requirements for an Importance Level 3 building, equivalent to 130% of what is required for a typical office building.

The first-floor heritage façade of what was the old Deka building was retained and strengthened. It was cut into panels and craned off to allow piling to the edge of the building. Once the ground structure was completed, the panels were craned back and reinstalled with new structural connections and sprayed concrete.

Whitireia and Weltec now offer the country’s first Bachelor of Creativity degree. The interior fitout provides for a range of specialist learning spaces, including:

  • dance studios and rehearsal and performance spaces for theatre and stage
  • digital recording studios for musicians and artists
  • control-mixing rooms and an in-house radio station
  • stylists’ studios and salons for hair, beauty and make-up artistry
  • workshops for woodwork and fabrication for creative technologies, jewellery making and sculpture
  • film photography studio and dark rooms; and
  • two new theatres including a 55-seat cinema.

Floating concrete panels were installed on the concrete slabs between floors to minimise the sound between floors. The panels were fitted on the slabs with seismic rubber and steel jacks which raised each floor 100mm.


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