TUHIRAKI
AgRESEARCH
 

TUHIRAKI
AgRESEARCH

Client:
AgResearch

Location:
Lincoln

Completion:
2023

Size:
7,500m2

Design Partner:
Lab-works Architecture

Contact:
Carsten Auer

AgResearch is a Crown Research Institute (CRI) tasked with delivering leading agricultural science and innovation to benefit the wider Aotearoa economy. Located within the takiwā of Te Taumutu Rūnanga the organisation’s new headquarters and research centre consolidates research/laboratory and workplace functions on a new site adjacent the Lincoln University Campus.

The project showcases AgResearch’s leading science abilities and seeks to catalyse agricultural innovation through enhanced collaboration within the organisation and across tertiary and industry partners, both in the Lincoln district and wider Canterbury region.

Accessed via the main entry to the University Campus, the facility is designed to express its own unique identity while being complimentary to the built campus environment and landscape. A generous timber canopy reinforces the primary campus circulation and welcomes staff and visitors into the new facility.

Two parallel building elements each accommodate one of the two primary functions –  workplace and laboratory space. These are connected via bridging elements. A central courtyard brings light and natural ventilation into the heart of the facility and enhances visibility and connectivity between the functions. This arrangement creates a strong visual and functional relationship between the two, while also enabling the building forms to be treated independently and respond effectively to their varying specialist requirements.

The ‘heavy’ laboratory building features a rigid precast concrete structure to meet the strict laboratory vibration guidelines and PC2 containment requirements after a seismic event. Precast panels with local aggregates and terracotta colouring respond to the wider campus materials palette. In contrast, the workplace building touches the ground more lightly. Its expressed timber structure and lightweight cladding references an agricultural vernacular and the whenua-based research conducted by the organisation. Together, both respond to and complement the wider campus environment within which they are located.

Environmentally sustainable design principles underpin the design and support the clients brief to reduce the buildings’ carbon footprint and promote the use of locally sourced materials where possible. Delineating the workplace and laboratory functions allowed the team to develop a lightweight timber structure for the workplace building and deliver a 78 % carbon saving to a comparable steel and concrete structure.

The timber structure informs the workplace interior and is a visual manifestation of the organisation’s sustainability ethos. The regular grid of LVL columns and beams, paired with mass timber shear walls, a prefabricated timber cassette floor systems and Glulam roof members structure the space and provide an expression of natural materials throughout.

Passive design features such as the building’s projecting eaves and external sun shading are paired with a mixed-mode natural ventilation design to target operational energy efficiency over the building’s life. Natural wool insulation and carpet were specified to enhance thermal and acoustic performance and promote the client’s research innovations for wool products in the building industry.

The environmental approach includes sustainable land and water management. Located on the historic margins of the dry plains landscape of Kā Pākihi-Whakatekateka-a-Waitaha (the Canterbury Plains) and the wet margins of Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) the area was once an ecologically rich landscape and a source of food and resources for Ngāi Tahu Whānui. Today it faces significant water quality issues caused by its modification to a farmed landscape. Linking this with AgResearch’s focus on land-based research and development was a critical design driver for the restorative landscape development of the site.

He Puna Karikari (2016), the cultural narrative provided by mana whenua, Ngāi Te Ruahikihiki ki Taumutu guides the integration of mana whenua values, traditions and aspirations within the design and operations of the facility, Tuhiraki. Careful and controlled land and water management; sustainable design; and consideration and caring for others are some of the undercurrents of this narrative that are highly relevant to contemporary agricultural research. In keeping with this, Tuhiraki pays homage to the work of Rākaihautū with his kō, Tūwhakaroria, enabling innovative, productive land-based solutions that are ecologically and socially sound and sustainable.

Ngāi Tahu, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu artist, Piri Cowie, developed art and design elements to complement and enrich the spatial experience of the facility. Works created by Ngāi Tahu artists Reihana Parata and Morehu Flutey-Henare and Ngāti Porou artist Riki Manuel also feature in the supporting landscape. Collectively these works bring a deep sense of meaning and connectedness that emanates from a mana whenua knowledge base.

MoreLess

Site Plan

Concept Diagrams

Concept Model & Sketch

Section with Sustainability Initiatives

Workplace wing (left) and Laboratory wing (right)

Workplace building façade conceptual study

West Façade Entry Canopy
Artwork: Takata Whenua – Piri Cowie

Workplace Building: Front of House Reception and Entrance

Main entrance
Artwork: Kā Hao – Piri Cowie

Main Stair

Workplace building: open plan working

South Elevation facing Lincoln University campus

Circulation and breakout settings

Laboratory building façade conceptual study

Laboratory building

North Elevation

Client:
AgResearch

Location:
Lincoln

Completion:
2023

Size:
7,500m2

Design Partner:
Lab-works Architecture

Contact:
Carsten Auer

Awards

Te Kāhui Whaihanga NZIA Canterbury Architecture Award – Commercial 2024