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Architecture students from Victoria University and engineering students from the University of Canterbury recently took part in the inaugural ArchEng workshop, where they collaborated on the design for a cultural centre on Wellington’s Cuba Street.
Organised by the Cement & Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ), the initiative was primarily conceived as a way to encourage aspiring construction specialists from different disciplines to work together to incorporate the best insights and latest technology into building design.
Dr Joe Gamman, CCANZ Education and Development Manager, says the ArchEng project is focused on connecting future architecture and engineering professionals.
“The better we’re able to help these students work together, the better the outcomes are going to be for clients and society at large,” he says.
The ArchEng workshop also aimed to demonstrate to the students how their fields interact at a practical level from a construction materials perspective.
“The students were able to really get a sense that good design and good engineering are one and the same,” Dr Gamman says.
The students, working in cross-disciplinary teams of two, were challenged with a brief to develop a preliminary design for an inner city Wellington cultural centre, with concrete as the primary building material.
“We found a site on Cuba Street that looked as though it could be developed and we structured the programme around that,” Gamman says.
The students were taken on a site visit to familiarise themselves with the location and the surrounding context, so that their designs would more intuitively reflect the requirements of all stakeholders.
Grace Mills, a final year VUW architecture student says, “It was good to see the site from a design perspective and start to talk to others about how they see it as a potential space for a cultural centre.”
“You get to look at a problem from a completely different angle than we are used to at university,” adds Cameron Belliss, a final year University of Canterbury structural engineering student.
The workshop ran over three days and included site visits to inspirational concrete buildings in Wellington including the Alan MacDiarmid Building which utilises the PREcast Seismic Structural System (PRESSS), and the Meridian Building, New Zealand's first 5 Green Star rated building.
The site visits were guided by practicing engineers and architects who were involved in the design and build at each site.
Workshop panellists included representatives from BRANZ and the Ministry of Building Innovation and Employment, with both organisations keen on increasing productivity and communication in the built environment.
It is anticipated that the workshop will become an annual event as CCANZ continues to foster cross-disciplinary contact between early career professionals for better concrete outcomes.
Future CCANZ ArchEng workshops will continue to:
A short film showcasing the objectives and achievements of the ArchEng workshop can be accessed via the CCANZ website – http://www.ccanz.org.nz.