University of Auckland Faculty of Engineering
The B405 building is the single-most complex building the University of Auckland has ever developed. The 32,000m² building, located within the University’s City Campus, provides the Faculty of Engineering Te Herenga Mātai Pūkaha with an energy-efficient research and learning facility designed to inspire future generations of Engineers.
Opened in 2020, the $220 million project represents a step-change for the University, enabling all five engineering departments to come together in a dedicated precinct. Linking the old and new, B405 is flexible and future focused. It is literally an engine for generating innovation. It does this through maximising student exposure to a rich universe of specialist expertise, technology and world-leading processes.
At 114m long, 42m wide and 12-storeys high, one of the University’s key strategic goals of the project of maximising the site coverage and achieving high space utilisation rates, while creating a bespoke building that would last for the 80-year life cycle intended.
The B405 design reinforces the principles of: Collegiality, Learning, Visibility, and Innovation. Therefore, as an aid to learning, exposed and expressed building components and building activities make visible the feats of engineering innovation within.
The dramatic eastern elevation offers a unique high-tech presence viewed from key vantage points within Parnell, the Domain and the Motorway. The arrangement of the aluminium sunshades protects the interior while maintaining panoramic views. The west-facing Symonds Street façade is solid, with discrete windows punched out of the zinc-clad unitized façade providing environmental control to protect the laboratories behind from afternoon sun.
B405 both connects and carves open the Sector 400N precinct. Key to transforming the student experience, five engineering departments will share a building for the first time in twenty years, unlocking the powerful potential for new learning pathways and research innovation.
Drawing daylight deep into the new building and the adjacent atrium reflects the University’s intent to energise both the environment and the activity within. A north-facing entry establishes a new gateway into the faculty. Cantilevering above this, a double-height mezzanine with cascading terraces provides a popular student hang-out overlooking the street. With teaching labs accessed off wide public arteries, the design positions social learning at the heart of the academic experience. Lecture theatres, breakout and collaboration spaces are arranged across different levels further intensifying the energy and life of the sector.
Located on the lowest five levels are five types of ‘plug and play’ modular teaching laboratories. These 26 laboratories cater to the wide spectrum of core engineering disciplines.
Architect: Jasmax Architects
On the upper six levels, 28 modular research laboratory spaces support over 40 distinct research streams with specialized support facilities, post-graduate, staff collaboration and write-up zones located alongside.
Visitors and students are encouraged to see into laboratories through large (and often fire-rated, acoustic or even impact resistant) openings, specifically to foster a faculty-wide culture of curiosity. This promotes a culture of safety, with high visibility between laboratory users and technical support staff spaces.
The building demonstrates advanced seismic design and energy efficiency, supporting engineering research for years to come.