World-first building quickly makes its mark
Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT)’s new Arts and Media Building has not only wowed the NMIT community – it’s attracting international attention as a world leading landmark structure. It’s the world’s first multi-storey wooden building using pre-stressed timber as the structural building material, and its new generation earthquake resistant technology is turning heads.
Opened in March, the building has provided an inspiring, purpose-built base for art learning, with art and media workspaces, and cutting-edge technology.
THE NMIT building has been included in the World Architecture Festival, being held in Barcelona, November 2011. It has been shortlisted in its category and features in the People's Choice award (click here to vote).
Irving Smith Jack Architects and Aurecon Engineers joined forces on the design of the building – winning a design competition for the task set by NMIT and Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF).
Architect Andrew Irving says the building maximises the warmth and visual appeal of structural timber.
“Through this project, we’ve learnt that timber structures can not only compete with concrete and steel in terms of engineering, but also offer a unique aesthetic in the way the building feels. We’ve left the building’s structural timber components visible to showcase the innovative use of wood. ”
And it certainly meets the brief for sustainability, making use of timber as a renewable resource, locally grown and manufactured into LVL by Nelson Pine.
“It’s a prototype of a simple structure that can be used in a number of building types, so we see this as the first in a new generation of creative, sustainable, wooden structured multi-storied buildings,” Andrew says.
NMIT Chief Executive Tony Gray says the building is a great addition to NMIT’s learning spaces, removing a long reliance on temporary “hut-like” buildings.
“It provides a very fit-for-purpose resource for both our arts and media provision, and for a wide range of other NMIT activities.
“The use of LVL gave us a beautiful product, that provides not only a wonderful richness and warmth to the learning environment, but its strength and construction capability was seen as a real benefit to this project. Our wish to source as much of the expertise, labour and product for the build from the region was another motivator in using LVL.”
MAF Spokesperson James Stevenson-Wallace says the building is a world first.
“For both innovative use of wood in the structure of multi-storied buildings and incorporating new generation earthquake-resistant engineering technology, something we have all become more focused on in recent times. There are significant benefits to New Zealand from this work."
And the innovative building has achieved national acclaim, taking out the Award of Excellence in the Education and Arts Category at the 2011 Property Council of New Zealand Awards. The annual awards celebrate excellence in property development, recognising efficient use of capital, maximum investor return and for public buildings, the greatest community benefit.
Andrew says they see the award as affirmation that the world leading timber technology, represents a viable approach to developing public and commercial buildings.