Studio Pacific was commissioned by Victoria University of Wellington to design an 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 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. To ensure economy in the interior design, a set of three repeated floor plans of rooms off a generous central corridor was employed.
In addition to providing a bright, warm interior where students could feel at home, an important objective was to create a sense of community both within the building and with the rest of Weir House. 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 an entrance beacon at night.
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.