Alfred Nathan House, built in 1906, was originally the home of Auckland businessman Alfred Nathan and his family. Currently the building is part of The University of Auckland Waipapa Taumata Rau’s city campus, providing accommodation for university administration staff. Since 1906 the ‘Italianate’ style building has undergone a number of changes of use and alterations, notably the addition of a mansard roof in 1966 and extension to the eastern end in 1971.
Modelling of the building’s seismic performance indicated the need to undertake a number of reasonably significant interventions, catalysing a larger project that included an interior refurbishment and new extension.
The new element extends the floor plate at all three levels of the existing building and wraps over the top to form a new rooftop level, replacing the mansard roof. The rooftop level is deliberately set-back from Princes Street to enable the restoration of the heritage frontage to the west. A new area of landscaping to the east, incorporating the accessible entry and in-situ concrete bleachers, introduces a more open connection to Sector 100 and provides opportunity for informal student space.
The internal refurbishment improves circulation, fire egress, accessible facilities and modernises workspaces, securing the building’s perpetuation through the 21st century. The creation of larger open plan workspaces makes a mixed mode ventilation strategy viable, utilising the openable windows and the new staircase as a thermal chimney.
Externally, a separation between the existing building and the new extension is expressed with a continuous strip of glazing. Internally, new elements are thoughtfully incorporated into the heritage fabric, using colour and materiality to differentiate between new and existing elements – preserving the layers of history.