Architectus was successful in the 2015 limited design competition for a new University of Canterbury Students’ Association (UCSA) building which forms part of the Wellness Precinct in the University of Canterbury Campus Master Plan. This presented a unique opportunity to create a student centred ‘home away from home’ reflective of student activity on campus and catering to the needs and diversity of the student community.
The new UCSA facility, Haere-roa, offers students a state-of-the-art space for social activities, events, clubs and meetings. The name Haere-roa, translated as the longest stream or the long wanderer, was gifted to the UCSA by mana whenua, Ngāi Tūāhuriri and is linked to the Ōtākaro Avon River, which flows past the site.
The building provides light and sunny spaces with strong connections to the new outdoor amphitheatre and landscape. The form, scale and materiality of the building creates a variety of activity zones and spatial qualities and allows for large function and hospitality spaces as well as intimate spaces that students can make their own. The building provides meeting, office and advocacy spaces for students and UCSA staff and also includes a new Ngaio Marsh Theatre.
The building and its surrounds are a key component in creating what is often referred to as a ‘sticky campus’. This concept looks to provide environments for students to meet, linger and stay on campus for activities other than formal learning activities.