The new creative campus for Whitireia Weltec – Te Auaha – is breathing new life into a well known but neglected site on the corner of Dixon St and Cuba Mall. Some of us of a certain vintage will remember this heritage building as Woolworths and later, Deka. The ground floor will continue the retail tradition whilst the additional 9,200 sqm will house the creative and performing arts campus.
CORA was responsible for the building engineering services design of the base build. The aim was to create a well-regulated internal environment whilst limiting the need for mechanical cooling thus reducing energy consumption, plant and riser space requirements. This natural, or passive, ventilation was achieved by using a combination of openable windows with cross flow of air from one side of the building to the other on most floors. Openable windows were considered a viable option due to the relatively low traffic levels on Dixon St. Other passive features include limiting the solar gain by careful selection of the type and amount of glazing, specifying highly insulated walls to restrict heat loss and heat gain so that the internal temperature is kept within a comfortable range. There are high studs throughout most of the building.
Active features in the original base build design to limit heat build up include four air shafts positioned equally around the central core to create ‘chimneys’ that allow warmed/stale air out and outside-air to ventilate the deep plan areas. Additionally, heat purging through open windows with a ‘winter’ or ‘overnight’ latch uses cool night time air for additional ventilation.
The heating of the building was facilitated by providing gas infrastructure for extension by the tenant.
Fresh air to internal zones was facilitated by the integration of louvres at both ends of the building which allowed the tenant easily to specify mechanical air distribution systems.