Providing university breakout spaces surrounding a new biological building at VUW
The Gateway Building is a modern best practice teaching and laboratory facility surrounded by high-quality university public open space. It includes high amenity pedestrian environments at Gates 6 and 7 into the University; a versatile expansive plaza and sunlit terraced seating.
Gateway Building is located in the Wellington suburb of Kelburn, known for its steep topography, close proximity to the CBD and leafy historic character. The building is to be nestled onto a steep bank between the streets of Kelburn Parade – a verdant residential street, and Culliford Drive – a University service road where other key science buildings (Laby, Alan Mcdiarmid and Cotton) are located.
Engaged by Warren and Mahoney to provide landscape plan and design services, our consultants were presented with a number of challenges including a 14 metre height difference over the site. Seismic damage avoidance design combined with primary and secondary structure placed over service voids, means landscape works were designed over laboratories below. Raising the footpath level over two metres, whilst maintaining mature existing trees, also provides an opportunity for unique landscape detailing.
The landscape design responded to these challenges by providing a varied edge to Kelburn Parade. The lower reaches have an urban feel in keeping with the surrounding University Buildings, whist the upper reaches are more leafy – maintaining and relocating mature existing Pohutukawa trees in keeping with their historic context.
Steps, seating terraces and ecologically relevant garden beds capitalise on the site’s steep topography and provide breakout spaces in a variety of settings. Maclaurin Plaza – an expansive multifunctional space – serves as a southern meeting point, centrally placed between the new and existing science infrastructure. The outcome is one of stitching old and new together seamlessly.
Boffa Miskell provided Landscape Architecture services for the Gateway Building. Collaborating with Architects and Engineers to document the detailed design of exterior spaces both on and off podium.